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Police station for Southbank

17 Jan 2012

Forget the much-touted police pod, Southbank is set to have its very own police station, with a 50-member facility to be built in the area before 2015.

The new facility will replace the station currently located at St Kilda Rd.

The City of Melbourne has cited the new station as a major reason for cancelling the police pod which was planned to tackle Southbank’s rising crime rates.

Both Victoria Police and the council agree that the mobile police facility trialed during 2011 are the most practical solution to fill the void, before the new station is built.  

The Southbank police station will become a reality after the St Kilda Rd complex is relocated to two locations – the operational components coming to Southbank and the administration going to a separate Docklands location.

Superintendent Peter O’Neill said that when the St Kilda Rd station was built, Southbank was a very different place to now.

“The St Kilda Rd police station will be moved to where it is more needed nowadays,” Mr O’Neill added.

A report to the City of Melbourne’s Future Melbourne Committee said the plan for the Southbank police station was a major reason that the police pod idea was thrown out.

“As a result (of the new station) there will be a significant police presence in the Southbank area by 2015 which would

negate the requirement for the pod,” the report states. “It is envisaged that there will be at least 50 police officers stationed at the proposed Southbank police station.”

Councillor Ken Ong, a long-time supporter of the pod, confirmed the decision to abandon it was heavily influenced by the promise of a beefed-up police presence.

“It was the long-term assurance that led to me agreeing to this (cancelling the police pod) compromise,” Cr Ong insisted.

“We didn’t want to spend $350,000 on a pod that may be in use for only two years.”

An appropriate site for the new station is yet to be decided on, with the police in consultations at present, analysing the entire area for a suitable location.

Many aspects must be considered including budget, problem regions and accessibility.

According to Cr Ong, a site close to where the pod was planned at Queensbridge Square would be ideal, which is also in close proximity to Crown Casino.

He added: “If the station is anywhere in the Southbank area it will be easy for police to get around to anywhere within the area, so it will an acceptable location for the City of Melbourne.”

Southbank Residents’ Group newly-elected president Mabel Vargas said she hoped the new station would become a reality.

“I hope that this commitment becomes a reality and that in three years time we are not told that the police station is not going to happen,” Ms Vargas said.

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