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‘We have to deal in the honest facts’: Police union head says harassment and robbery are up near the safe injecting room

The head of the Victorian police union says many crimes are on the rise in the vicinity of the Richmond safe injecting room, despite a drop in overall offences in the suburb.

Victoria Police command and the state government say crime is down in the area, but Police Association Secretary, Wayne Gatt, says that’s not what the data shows.

“I think the figures play out a different story, to be quite honest,” he told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.

Mr Gatt said data used to suggest that crime is down near the injecting room is too broad.

“The difficulty we have is when statistics are put out there that are broad, that look at the whole of the Richmond area, or indeed even broader … you do see a decline, but that’s not what our members were talking about,” he said.

“We have to deal in the honest facts of the situation.”

According to police union, robbery, staking, harassment and threatening behaviour are up in the block bordered by Church Street, Highett Street, Hoddle Street and Victoria Street.

Police union data shows a 53 per cent increase in robberies in 2018-19, compared to 2017-18.

Stalking, harassment and threatening behaviour have increased by 64 per cent over the same time period, and other crimes against the person are up by 62 per cent.

Crime in the suburb as a whole, however, has dropped.

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