Reports that Victoria Police have been called in to secure and manage Victoria’s quarantine hotels once again highlights just how badly the Andrews Labor Government has botched Victoria’s hotel quarantine program.
Police Association Secretary, Wayne Gatt has stated Victoria Police members had been called in to take a leadership role in the management of these facilities and will “right this ship to make sure the situation improves”.
These comments come more than two weeks after Corrections Victoria and the Sheriff assumed control of these hotels and raise serious questions as to whether operational deficiencies in the hotel program have been adequately addressed during this time.
The use of Victoria Police represents the third major change in quarantine hotel management over the last three weeks, following the removal of private security contractors amid serious allegations of inappropriate breaches and illegal conduct occurring which has directly contributed to Victoria’s second COVID-19 wave and second lockdown.
This belated decision follows repeated calls by the Victorian Liberal Nationals to use Victoria Police with Australian Defence Force (ADF) support to manage Victoria’s quarantine hotels, as has occurred in other states such as NSW.
Such an approach would also relieve an increasingly stretched Victoria Police force and ensure community policing activities, such as proactive patrols and responding to incidents, could remain a priority during this health pandemic.
Daniel Andrews’ failure to properly manage these facilities has placed the safety of all Victorians at risk and is resulting in catastrophic consequences.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Police and Community Safety, David Southwick:
“How can any Victorian have confidence in our hotel quarantine program with a third changing of the guard in 3 weeks?
“With these hotels having been through private security contractors, the Sheriff, corrections and now police – it begs the question – how could Daniel Andrews have got it so wrong?
“Instead of cutting corners and placing the safety of the community at risk, Daniel Andrews should’ve been using Victoria Police with ADF support to manage these hotels from day one.
“Daniel Andrews must bring in ADF support in these quarantine hotels and ensure Victoria Police have the resources they need to continue proactive community policing during this period.”