Victoria’s top cop has confirmed he advised against another Melbourne ring of steel during last month’s lockdown because it would have been impractical.
The five-day coronavirus lockdown affected all the state, rather than just Melbourne.
The ring of steel that was a feature of last year’s 112-day lockdown, shutting off Melbourne from the rest of Victoria, was discussed before the latest measure.
But Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said that by the time the traffic checkpoints were in place, the lockdown would have been nearly over.
He said it would have taken two or three days to set up the checkpoints around Melbourne.
“We can do anything – it takes a period of time and it comes with a resource demand,” Mr Patton told 3AW.
He added he had a brief discussion with government about re-establishing the ring of steel.
Meanwhile, Mr Patton has revealed the pandemic’s financial cost to Victoria Police in terms of added overtime and expense claims, putting it at about $20 million from March last year to January.
“It’s very high, but what more important activity could we be doing,” he said.
He is unsure whether it will come out of Victoria Police’s annual budget or whether the state government will provide extra funds.
“It would be nice if it came to us, but we’ll see,” he said.
Mr Patton also said protesters are within their rights to stage rallies, provided they follow health department guidelines.
Public gatherings are capped at 100 people unless organisers have a permit.
“Like it or not, Melbourne is the sporting and protest capital of the world,” he said.
“We’re happy to facilitate protests if people are doing the right thing, they’re abiding by those (COVID-safe) plans and they’re not breaking the law.”