Construction of Ballarat’s new police forensic hub is underway as the Andrews Labor Government continues its fight against ice and high-harm crime in regional Victoria.
Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford joined Victoria Police in Winter Valley today to mark the start of construction for the new facility, which will speed up forensic testing and help police investigate crime faster in Ballarat and Western Victoria.
The hub is expected to open in April next year with 12 new staff, including 11 specially-trained forensic officers.
Advances in forensic technology mean important scientific work will be completed closer to frontline police units – getting evidence back to police and prosecutors in the region faster by removing the need to transport thousands of crime scene exhibits all the way to Melbourne to be examined.
Immediate access to preliminary results will help investigators catch criminals before they commit more offences.
The new facility will help strengthen investigations into crimes that cause the most community harm – including family violence, organised crime, property offences and the devastating impact of drugs like ice.
The new Ballarat-based staff will recover evidence and conduct preliminary analyses across a range of forensic areas, including biological, chemical, digital, botanical, and fingerprint services.
The new facility is located at 1 Mirelle Drive in Winter Valley, next to the Ballarat West police station in the Ballarat West Emergency Services precinct.
Ballarat is one of two regional centres to receive a forensic hub as part of the Labor Government’s $11.6 million investment in regional forensics, with the other facility to be located in Morwell.
The Labor Government has funded the biggest recruitment drive in Victoria Police’s history, with 3,135 new frontline police – 14 of these new officers have already been allocated to the Ballarat Division this year.
This investment is already making a difference, with the crime rate in Ballarat drop of 6.4 per cent in the last year.
In stark contrast, the former Liberal Government failed to invest in one single additional officer, cut $100 million from the Victoria Police budget and slashed 350 Victoria Police staff.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford
“Forensic analysis is a key part of modern policing – providing the intelligence and evidence police need to put away criminals, including drug dealers and organised crime figures.”
“We’re giving police the resources, equipment and technology they need to fight crime and keep Victorians safe – here in Ballarat and right across the state.”
Quote attributable to Member for Wendouree Sharon Knight
“This facility will equip our police with state-of-the-art technology, removing the need for officers to travel to Melbourne to get the evidence they need to crack down on crime in regional Victoria.”