THE new purpose-built Sale police station was officially opened on Wednesday, with Victoria Police chiefs spruiking its operational and ecological benefits and its expansive spaces.
Newly-appointed Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton and Police Minister Wade Noonan unveiled a plaque to officially open the Reeve St complex, which has already been in operation for four months.
With water tanks, solar panels and sustainable design initiatives, the new headquarters for the Wellington police service area is the state’s most environmentally friendly police complex.
Mr Noonan said the operational benefits of the move were clear to see and marvelled at the incorporation of heritage aspects of the old Sale Gaol into the new building.
“What has been created here in Sale has been many, many years in the making,” Mr Noonan said.
“But it’s a building that’s obviously designed to assist our local police but also provide capacity for growth in the future and obviously by extension, help make the community safer.
“That’s essentially why this investment is so important, but more broadly speaking those that have designed the building have also had local heritage in mind and I think it’s quite unique.”
That capacity for growth has resulted in a family violence unit incorporated into the new station, a move which Mr Noonan said was already paying dividends.
“Certainly, the issue of family violence is the number one law and order issue in the state,” he said.
“So obviously having specialist tasking in this area to focus on what is a very complex problem and designing the spaces to have those additional tasking units essentially designed into the building, are really critical.”
In his first trip to Sale since his promotion to the top job, Chief Commissioner Ashton said the state-of-the-art facility was vital for Sale and surrounding areas, particularly considering the need to deal with natural disasters such as fires and floods.
“We’ve got 80 members working here at the moment and we’re able to bring together a lot of areas that weren’t in the one place before.
“The old station in York St was too old and outdated and this enables us to bring all the services together … in the emergency management area whether it’s bushfire or flood …”
Chief Commissioner Ashton also echoed the thoughts of Minister Noonan, saying family violence was a vital area of focus for all police.
“Having the family violence staff here and being able to bring the DHHS (Department of Health and Human Services) specialist staff in as well, has enabled us to get a better and quicker response to victims of family violence and they’re seeing that as being a real big benefit so far,” he said.
A public open day for the new police station has been touted, however a date it is yet to be confirmed.