Vic police centre opens as top cop departs

Benita Kolovos

The new Victoria Police Centre has opened its doors as Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton bids his farewell.

The 39-storey building was officially opened by Mr Ashton and Police Minister Lisa Neville in a live-streamed ceremony on Thursday.

From July, the building will house more than 5000 staff and 26 police commands and departments, including counter-terrorism, family violence and road policing.

Among the new facilities is a redesigned Victoria Police Museum, which will open in 2021, as well as a rooftop helipad for faster deployment of units including the bomb squad, critical incident response team and special operations group.

The building is connected to the existing 313 Spencer Street police complex via bridges and pathways, consolidating CBD operations into the one, highly secure location.

"This remarkable building has been designed with police service delivery at the forefront, the purpose-built modern facilities will mean our frontline resources and support services will be better placed than ever before to serve the community," Mr Ashton said.

Mr Ashton said he was touched by a donated mural in the foyer of the building, which depicts the history of Victoria Police starting from 1853.

Each chief commissioner is featured along with Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor, Senior Constable Kevin King, Constable Glen Humphris and Constable Josh Prestney, who were killed in a horror car crash on the Eastern Freeway in April.

While the event ushered in a new era for the force, it was also a farewell for Mr Ashton, whose time at its helm ends on Friday.

Mr Ashton's five-year term began in 2015, and Ms Neville said he should be immensely proud of his contribution in that time.

She credited Mr Ashton with advancing the police force through technology including body-worn cameras, and for showing leadership during terrorism incidents, bushfires and the coronavirus pandemic.

Premier Daniel Andrews also thanked Mr Ashton for his contribution.

"I'm deeply grateful to him for the leadership he has offered in many very challenging times,' he told reporters.

Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton will take over the top job on Saturday.