The police union wants more officers on the beat, arguing stations are stretched and struggling, but Victoria Police denies there is a crisis.
Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Lucinda Nolan said there had been an unprecedented increase in police resources, but the extra officers hadn’t necessarily gone directly into stations.
The state is on track to meet the existing government target of 1700 new police by November and there is “definitely no crisis”, Ms Nolan said.
“We put our resources in where we can get the most sustained and effective response in that area,” she told Fairfax Radio on Tuesday.
“Some of the resources have gone into highway patrol, some have gone into investigation.”
Police Association secretary Ron Iddles cited a union audit of new police officers allocated since the last election to call for both parties to commit to increasing police numbers by 1700.
He said of the 1300 additional officers recruited since 2010, only 456 had hit the front line.
“We are struggling, we’re not coping,” Sen Sgt Iddles said.
He said officers had insufficient time to do their paperwork and officers who went off sick sometimes couldn’t be replaced.
Ms Nolan said there had been a confusion about where the resources have actually gone.
“We put them where they’re best housed in the accommodation available,” Ms Nolan said.
“For Dandenong, they’ve got 90 more staff than they did at the start of this process but not necessarily all in the Dandenong Police Station.”
Police Minister Kim Wells said it was the chief commissioner’s decision where additional officers were allocated.
Mr Wells said there were another 1525 police since the coalition came to power in November 2010.
Opposition police spokesman Wade Noonan said police cells were overflowing and the Napthine government had forced the chief commissioner to find so-called savings from his budget of more than $100 million.
The Community and Public Sector Union says the government has cut 400 support personnel since 2011 leaving operational police to undertake property and other admin functions.