Police patrolling Mitchell Shire as COVID-19 restrictions begin

By David Rak

Victoria Police will dramatically increase their presence in and around Mitchell Shire and metropolitan Melbourne to ensure people are following the most recent directions of Victoria’s Chief Health Officer.

Premier Daniel Andrews today joined Minister for Police and Emergency Services Lisa Neville and Chief Commissioner of Police Shane Patton to launch an expanded version of Operation Sentinel, which will see a highly visible police presence in and around the 32 local government areas with stage three restrictions.

Operation Sentinel will involve state-wide resources including the Public Order Response Team, Mounted Branch, Highway Patrol and local police.

Victorian Government has sought the assistance of the Australian Defence Force, which will see approximately 264 ADF members assisting with on-ground operations, focusing on staging areas, planning, logistics and transport.

They will also play a key role in monitoring the boundary around metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire.

Booze buses will be deployed to road stops and checkpoints to monitor traffic flow, and police will use Automatic Number Plate Recognition to scan registration details and identify the residential addresses of licence holders.

Victoria Police will also have vehicle checkpoints across the state – including the main arterials to regional Victoria.

As part of Operation Sentinel, police continue to make house visits and patrol public places all over Victoria, helping to limit the spread of coronavirus.

From midnight, metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will return to stage three restrictions for six weeks.

For Victorians living in these locations, there will only be four reasons to leave the house: shopping for food and supplies, care and caregiving, exercise, and work or study – if it can’t be done from home.

Premier Andrews said these were unprecedented measures – but so is the challenge being faced.

“This virus is deadly and we must contain it – lives are depending on it,” he said.

“The rules are clear, they’re there to save lives and police will be enforcing them across the state.”

Victoria Police have undertaken 810 spot checks in the past 24 hours at homes, businesses and non-essential services across the state, and issued a total of 6,314 fines as part of Operation Sentinel.

Anyone who breaches these directions faces on-the-spot fines of $1,652 for individuals and $9,913 for businesses.

Police are conducting checks at businesses, homes, community locations and non-essential services across the state to ensure directions are being followed. Operation Ribbon and Operation Shielding remain in place.

The community can continue to report non-urgent crime and events, as well as breaches of the Chief Health Officer’s directives, by calling the Police Assistance Line on 131 444 or submitting an online report at