Opinion: Enhanced police resourcing to embrace the needs of CALD communities
By Chief Commissioner of Police Graham Ashton
This week marked an important moment for the future safety of all Victorians.
As Chief Commissioner, I welcomed the State Government’s announcement that it would fund our plans to build a more capable, agile and responsive police force.
This has included funding an additional 2,729 police, 100 PSOs, and introducing new laws that will provide greater protection for citizens and better justice outcomes for victims.
They have also agreed to fund an extensive equipment and IT program for police – all of which will greatly enhance our ability to keep people safe.
Keeping the community safe is our greatest priority. As police we know that staying connected to all communities is fundamental to us achieving this.
We know the issues of safety facing each of our communities are different. Our emerging communities deal with different challenges and issues to those who have been here longer, and as police we need to understand those differences.
The headline figure of 2,729 more police over the next four years will provide a huge boost to our organisation. Local police will be better equipped, skilled and confident to engage with, and be responsive to, the complex, evolving needs of Victoria’s many diverse and overlapping communities.
It will put significantly more police out on patrol, in the community, responding to pleas for help where and when needed.
It will allow us to appoint 42 additional Youth Resource Officers who will target areas of high risk youth offending and work with at-risk young people, including in schools and residential care, and four new Aboriginal Community Liaison Officers to expand positive engagement with Aboriginal Victorians.
And it will also allow us to grow our task forces and teams working on some of the most complex causes of harm, such as family violence, online offending and organised crime.
The additional PSOs will put more officers on station platforms, keeping travellers safe, and our new Police Assistance Line and online crime reporting tool will provide new ways for the public to reach out to police and seek assistance.
Other measures we have secured include funding for the role out of Automated Number Plate Recognition technology to 220 highway patrol vehicles, a vital tool for detecting unlicensed drivers and unregistered vehicles.
And three new police helicopters and a fixed wing aircraft will greatly enhance our abilities to deliver people and services around the state, where and when needed, in quick time.
We have also carefully worked through a package of law changes that will boost police abilities to investigate and prosecute offenders.
We have sought and been promised powers to take DNA samples from people suspected of committing a criminal offence, greatly increasing the availability of DNA samples to investigators.
We have pushed for and been promised new laws that will ban the payment of cash for scrap metal in an effort to target organised crime groups which trade in stolen cars.
And our advice on new laws targeting drive-by shootings, including firing into a house, building or stationary vehicle, has been listened to.
As said, this is a great outcome for the state.
As police, we know that we must evolve to meet new and emerging threats to community safety. Being able to anticipate the emerging issues is key and will allow us to be better prepared to respond. We look forward to continuing to work closely with your community to keep Victoria safe.