NORTH East detectives are overworked and struggling to keep up with crime reports as roster changes hamper investigations, the police union says.
The Border Mail was told the Benalla, Alexandra and Seymour Crime Investigation Units, or CIU, were set to change their on-call system.
One detective was on call for each station but the changes would mean 11 detectives will share on-call duties across a larger area.
Detectives would be on call for shorter periods but would cover a larger area, resulting in longer trips to get to serious incidents.
Changes have also been made to Wodonga’s CIU.
It temporarily has only half its staff available due to departures and transfers.
Last month, changes were made to rosters requiring detectives to be in the station to work a 3pm to 11pm shift, a 2pm to 10pm shift or a 4pm to 12am shift.
The changes mean detectives can’t go on-call to cover afternoon shifts.
And because of the shortage of numbers within the unit, detectives at Wodonga would be rostered on their own.
Investigations were delayed if arrest and search warrants were needed because safety protocol doesn’t allow the warrants to be executed by a single officer.
Uniformed police could be used to assist but would have to be taken off other duties.
The Border Mail has been told placing police on afternoon shifts was costing the taxpayer more than having them on-call, despite calls last month for Victoria Police to slash $60 million a year from its budget.
Police Association secretary Greg Davies said changes in CIUs in the eastern region were being felt right through regional Victoria.
“It’s highly undesirable and in our view it’s a service reduction,” Mr Davies said.
“A service reduction to the community is never good.
“When it’s combined with putting unreasonable expectations on individual members, it’s got stuff-up written all over it.”
It is believed association representatives met the Eastern Region Assistant Commissioner Wendy Steendam to express their concerns.
Detectives from Benalla, Seymour and Alexandra will meet in Seymour today to discuss the changes.
Hume region divisional commander Supt Mick Sayer said detectives were rostered on afternoon shifts where “practicable”.
He said the changes were about ensuring expertise was provided to uniform members and the community.
He said in the rare situation where another incident came through while a detective was out at a job, detectives from the sexual offences and child investigation team would be called in to cover for them.