Stawell Police receive boost in numbers

Stawell Police Senior Sergeant Warren Groves has welcomed the reopening of the new prison cells in Horsham.

The move will result in a lot of pressure being removed from police members at Stawell, who had been given the responsibility of looking after prisoners in custody while the Horsham cells were closed.

Horsham's cells were closed last year because they did not meet human rights standards.

As a result, custody arrangements had been managed out of the Stawell Police Station. This meant resources and members had to be shifted from Horsham to

Stawell to help manage people in custody.

Police were also required to do a lot more transporting of people in custody up and down the Western Highway and to and from court.

Horsham's cells have only just reopened after a $1.4 million redevelopment, easing the pressure on Stawell.

Senior Sergeant Warren Groves said the move would allow police in Stawell to return to their core business, which was looking after the community and its residents.

He also praised the cooperation shown between stations throughout the Wimmera during what had been a testing time.

"The pleasing aspect for me was the engagement of all stations in the area, who worked together to cover service delivery along with the requirement of managing custody here in Stawell," he said.

"Staff at Stawell are certainly looking forward to getting down to their core business, which is servicing the community of Stawell and surrounding areas."

S/S Groves said while managing custody from the Stawell Police Station was challenging, it did allow members to multi-skill.

"The custody management itself has been a big learning curve for members," he said.

"They have been able to receive an extension of skills that they may not otherwise been given an opportunity to do.

"Our members have learnt specialist skills that will be transferable to any of the larger stations that have custody and that is a big plus for the individuals."

S/S Groves said a number of new members had commenced duties at Stawell late last year and early in the new year, significantly boosting numbers.

"We now have a number of new and some quite senior members from Melbourne who have joined us in Stawell," he said.

"Some of the members are from specialist areas in Melbourne, giving us an excellent combination of members with youth, vigour and vitality and members with vast experience and knowledge.

"As well as the members who have already commenced at Stawell, we have had a number express interest in coming to the area when a vacancy becomes available.

"Stawell is a fantastic place for police members to work in and people are recognising the benefits of working in such an area."

S/S Groves said a new Sergeant had also joined the ranks at Stawell, bringing to the team a wealth of experience in prosecution and many other areas.

"Members have been focused on other areas of policing while custody was being managed out of Stawell," he said.

"This resulted, at times, in members from other areas such as the Highway Patrol Unit or a member from Ararat or Halls Gap being called on to respond if an incident occurred.

"With custody returning to Horsham, we can now reassure the community that Stawell members will be out and about almost exclusively now as opposed to members from surrounding areas. I say almost exclusively, because there will always potentially be a time where the Stawell members are tied up with an offender or at a scene and unable to respond, so a nearby Highway Patrol Unit, Ararat, Halls Gap or even a passing Horsham unit may be called upon to assist."

S/S Groves said members of the community would definitely see an increase in local police presence now.

"Now we have new members on board and the new cells at Horsham are finally open, we are committed to consolidating our core business of servicing the community of Stawell and district," S/S Groves said.

"That will mean additional patrols around the streets and more police presence in the central business district, which will certainly be reassuring for the community."

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