Army reservists are again manning the Police Assistance Line in Ballarat to support the Victorian Government during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With every report to Victorian Police being funnelled through the Ballarat call centre, there has been an increase of coronavirus-related calls after the announcement of a second lockdown in Melbourne.

To reduce the police workload, reservists are handling all COVID-19-related reports to free up police to work on crime-related calls. 

Infantryman Private James Keyte, from 8/7 Royal Victoria Regiment, is reviewing cases on the phone assistance line.

“I’m proud to be able to work alongside the police,” Private Keyte said.

“This is not something you usually get to do, so it’s a great experience – I love it.” 

Senior Sergeant Paul Maslunka is the Victorian Police officer managing the centre.

“With the volume of additional calls and without the ADF picking up the extra workload, police could be missing other crime reports,” Senior Sergeant Maslunka said.

“The work they’re doing has a direct knock-on effect for crime rates and community safety.”

Senior Sergeant Maslunka said he was pleased with ADF support. 

“When ADF staff come in, they fit straight into the culture of the police,” Senior Sergeant Maslunka said.

“They’re positive, love to learn, intuitive and understand the importance of good information.

“The work we’re doing together is integral to the enforcement of the chief health officer’s directives, thereby making Victoria safer.”