Mernda resident turns to Facebook in bid for police station

A Mernda man has set up a Facebook page as part of his campaign to get a police station in the area ­– and other residents are flocking to it.

Tom Joseph said locals had had enough of hoon drivers and thieves stealing tradies’ tools and getting away with their crimes because police support came from too far away.

So he set up the Facebook site Mernda Needs a Police Station on December 1 in a bid to win support for his campaign.

Mr Joseph said the site had 1000 hits in the first week, which made it the most successful Facebook campaign of any community-based issue in Victoria.

“What we want is a costed, funded, time-framed policy to start a police station,” he said, citing his presidency of the Mernda and Doreen Multicultural Association and membership of the Mernda and District Residents Association as the imprimatur for his stand.

“I built [a house] here three years back and the developers were saying there would be a police station.

“They were promising all sorts of things and residents are absolutely sick of it.

“There’s a lot of hoon driving and break-ins, especially of tradie vans; it’s absolutely shocking,” Mr Joseph said.

The closest police stations are at Epping, Whittlesea and Mill Park, and Mr Joseph said that while the daytime response times were between 40 minutes and an hour, night call-outs could leave people waiting up to two hours for police to arrive.

“We need a 24-hour police presence,” he said.

He said the Facebook campaign was deliberately “apolitical”.

“There’s no official policy [for a police station at Mernda] by the state government or the opposition,” Mr Joseph said.

“All there is is talk, talk, talk.”

He said he had approached Liberal MLC Craig Ondarchie and Danielle Green (Labor, Yan Yean), and had seen plenty in Hansard extracts when Mernda’s request for local policing had been raised in Parliament.

But he said these had “no meaning” and neither party had a policy that put Mernda on the priority list.

“I want policies that are costed, funded and timeframed,” he said.