The days of rocking up to many of our police stations late at night to report a crime or sign a document are about to end.
While police will still be working 24-7 out of Stawell or Ararat, their front counters will only be staffed 16 hours a day.
They are among 43 Victorian stations facing reduced counter hours - mainly at night and before dawn.
"When a station reception counter is closed, police will always be patrolling the local community and in many cases, still working from within the station," Deputy Commissioner of Regional Operations Neil Paterson said.
"As a result of these changes, officers formerly rostered on reception shifts will instead be used for frontline policing duties, such as community patrols.
"This gives police the best opportunity to respond to urgent incidents, prevent crime before it can occur, and engage with large sections of the community.
"This also provides important rostering flexibility at a time when Victoria Police is currently managing a significant number of officer vacancies due to attrition."
Deputy Commissioner Paterson said every state and territory was facing a police shortage - and counter hours were being reduced there as well.
"When given the choice, police know crime is most effectively deterred and detected via highly visible patrols in the community, rather than from behind a scarcely-attended reception counter," he said.
"Redirecting officers towards frontline policing duties will increase the likelihood of crime being prevented, offenders being arrested, and the community remaining safe."
Stawell will see a reduction in reception times from late November - with the exact date and hours yet to be confirmed.
People wanting help will instead be diverted to Ballarat (123km) or Horsham (67km).
Ararat (94km from Ballarat) is part of stage two of the rollout - with dates and times to be confirmed.
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