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Reducing Harm

Wherever they live, every Victorian should feel safe in their home and in their community.

The Government is supporting Victoria Police to deliver effective responses to drive down crime and
reduce harm.

Key areas of focus include drug trafficking, youth offending, road safety, terrorism and violent extremism. On its own, each issue has a corrosive impact on community safety – and many are interrelated.

Case study Embedded Youth Outreach Program (EYOP)

Specialist skills are required to address the causes of crime by young people and the overrepresentation of young people as victims of crime. Victoria Police has introduced an innovative approach to reduce youth offending which sees a police officer paired with a youth worker in areas of high need.

Known as the Embedded Youth Outreach Program (EYOP), this collaborative initiative operates from Dandenong and Werribee Police Stations, covering Wyndham, Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong, Greater Dandenong, Casey and Cardinia Police Service Areas.

Recently, a 16-year-old male involved in shop theft and antisocial behaviour at a local shopping centre was engaged by the EYOP team. Although he was initially reluctant to accept support, the EYOP team continued to reach out and discovered that the young man had experienced family violence and trauma, and he had disengaged from school.

It was clear that this young man needed support and was finding it difficult to deal with the circumstances at home, which was impacting other areas of his life.

The EYOP team worked with the young man and his family to address his accommodation needs and to re-engage him in education and counselling. Following a transition into safer housing, the young man is now regularly attending school and working towards a transition into employment. The EYOP team continues to follow up with the young man after establishing a strong and supportive relationship.

This collaborative approach provides an important opportunity to make a positive difference to a young person’s life, leading to a safer and healthier community.

Targeted, joint responses to high risk young people

What we have been doing

Reducing youth crime requires an approach that includes supporting young people to make positive choices. The Government, Victoria Police and partner agencies have implemented programs to respond to youth crime and promote the wellbeing of children and young people, including:

  • Youth Specialist Officers (YSOs)
  • Child information Sharing Scheme
  • Multi-Agency Panels.

Youth Specialist Officers Victoria

testPolice’s 42 youth specialist officers (YSOs) work closely with detectives, youth resource officers, police prosecutors and frontline police to provide a coordinated response to young people committing high-impact offences. Deployed across the state, YSOs draw upon their specialised knowledge to identify emerging trends and intelligence relating to youth offending. In addition to working closely with police colleagues, YSOs engage with families, Youth Justice, courts and service providers to reduce the risk of re-offending and support young people to make positive choices in their lives.

Child Information Sharing Scheme

The Child Information Sharing Scheme works across authorised organisations and professionals who work with children, young people and their families to share information to prevent family violence and promote children's wellbeing and safety. This ensures a seamless information flow across all relevant services.

Multi-Agency Panels

Multi-Agency panels bring together schools, community organisations, police and government departments. These panels have prevented crime and helped many young people to reduce reoffending in Wyndham, Melton, Brimbank and Dandenong areas, engaging in prevention activities and preventing crime before it begins.

Commitment 2019-20

Embedded Youth Outreach Program

Young people face multiple risk factors which drive high-rates in victimisation and offending including family violence, unemployment, mental health, addiction, educational disengagement, and living in disadvantaged or high crime areas. The Program seeks to prevent and intervene with at-risk young people to reduce the negative impacts of these factors, giving young people a chance to explore more meaningful activities. This involves engaging with the young person and their family, assessing their needs and referring them to youth-specific supports.

Ninety per cent of young people involved in the Government's pilot Embedded Youth Outreach Program were referred to ongoing services, with many successful outcomes. The Government intends to build on this success by providing funding for another year of the program.

Targeting drug trafficking

What we have been doing

The impacts of drug use are devastating to individuals, families and communities. The Government continues to step up its fight against drug traffickers in a bid to reduce the devastating scourge of addiction. Tougher penalties have been introduced for those caught trafficking ice and heroin. The Ice Action Plan expands treatment services, provides more support for families, protects frontline workers and makes our communities safer. The Government has also provided funding for 24 additional forensic officers and staff for two new forensic hubs in regional Victoria and the implementation of the Forensic Drug Intelligence Capability Program.

The program:

  • broadens the capability for Victoria Police to target supply
  • disrupts large national and international drug syndicates
  • reduces and disrupts the supply of all drugs in Victoria
  • ensures a more targeted and proactive approach to drug crime investigation.

Ultimately, the program helps police better disrupt, investigate and prosecute drug cases and understand drug crime activity.

Commitment 2019-20

Forensic Drug Intelligence Capability Program

The Government is committed to the ongoing success of the Forensic Drug Intelligence Capability Program. The Program is a key component in Victoria Police drug crime intelligence gathering and ensures a reliable chain of evidence to prosecute cases.

Commitment 2019-20

Music festival safety

The Government supports a thriving and vibrant music festival scene as an integral part of Victoria’s cultural landscape. This includes promoting safety and preventing drug and other harm occurring at these events.

That’s why the Government is committing to working closely with industry and government agencies as part of the Live Music Roundtable, to ensure these events are safe for attendees.

Removing dangerous drivers from the road

What we have been doing

The number of lives lost on our roads is a tragic indicator of how much more there is to do to improve road safety. It's why the Government has provided $26 million over two years to Victoria Police to increase drug testing from 100,000 to 150,000 drivers each and every year.

Victoria Police is also conducting a review of roadside drug testing procedures to design a more effective and efficient approach that will allow a significant additional uplift in the number of roadside drug tests that can be conducted by police.

Targeting drivers under the influence of drugs and alcohol is essential to keeping our road toll down. Almost one in five road fatalities involves a driver's BAC reading being over .05.*

It's why we are deploying more booze and drug buses than ever before. At the same time, testing goes beyond buses. Marked and unmarked patrol cars, police motorcycles and mobile intercepts mean Victoria Police has a greater presence, deterring alcohol and drug affected drivers from taking to the road and casting a wider net to catch them when they do. An extra 52 police officers have also been deployed or allocated to the Highway Patrol, as part of the roll out of 3,135 new police.

*Source from www.towardszero.vic.gov.au/campaign/drinking-driving-better-apart

Changes to laws now mean Victoria has some of the toughest penalties in Australia for driving offences, with penalties including immediate impoundment for many crimes.

Police are also using mobile cameras to detect dangerous drivers on regional roads as recent figures have found people are up to four times more likely to be killed on country roads than in metropolitan Melbourne.1

Victoria Police has also commenced the roll out of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology across their Highway Patrol fleet. As part of this investment, 221 highway patrol cars will be fitted with ANPR in the next three years. ANPR will be deployed to detect and respond to a high-risk group of road users, including those with unregistered and stolen cars, unlicensed drivers and those with outstanding warrants.

1 https://www.towardszero.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/183556/STU_0206_ RS_STRATEGY_2016_web.pdf

Commitment 2019-20

Expansion of vehicle immobilisation devices

When pursuing dangerous drivers on our roads, a range of tools are available to Victoria Police to apprehend suspects and punish offenders.

Building on these powers, the Government and Victoria Police will consider options to further expand the use of vehicle immobilisation devices to put a stop to hoon drivers.

Commitment 2019-20

Cracking down on dangerous driving

Mobile speed cameras provide Victoria Police with flexibility to detect dangerous driving anywhere at any time. That's why the Government has committed a package of $120.6 million, including a boost to mobile speed cameras by 75 per cent by 2023. The proposed increase in mobile camera activity levels is expected to lead to a reduction of 60 road fatalities and 260 serious injuries every year.

Mobile phone usage detection technology is being explored to thwart the surge in the number of motorists using mobile phones while driving.
Dangerous driving remains a consistent threat to community safety, and Victorians expect that people who commit serious driving offences will be punished. It's why the Government will introduce legislation that will ensure drivers who are charged with certain offences are immediately suspended from driving.</p

Commitment 2019-20

Supporting the Towards Zero Strategy

Victoria's Towards Zero Strategy aims to reduce the number of lives lost on our roads to 200 or below by 2020 and reduce serious injuries by 15 per cent in five years.

A multi-agency approach is being explored to improve road safety and save more lives on Victorian roads. Victoria operates in the Safe Systems Approach to Road Safety.

This includes a partnership between the Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJCS), Victoria Police, the Department of Transport and the Transport Accident Commission and is informed by a partnership with the Monash University Accident Research Centre and the Australian Road Safety Council.

Countering terrorism and violent extremism

We are determined to address acts of terrorism and extreme violence, and the profound threat they represent to the safety of our state.

Worldwide, these threats - whether coordinated or lone wolf attacks - can have a devastating impact.

Here in Victoria, new laws commenced in 2018, increasing police powers to tackle these threats. This legislation allows police to detain terror suspects, without a court order, for up to four days. It also allows a suspect to be detained if a terrorist act is capable of being carried out and could occur within 14 days. This gives police greater capacity to disrupt attacks before they happen. Previously a terrorist act had to be imminent for preventative detention to occur. But under these new laws, police have greater capacity to disrupt attacks before they happen.

The new laws also create a presumption against bail and parole for those who pose a risk.

Preventing acts of violent extremism includes targeting individuals who show signs of threatening behaviour. That is why Victoria Police and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) partnered to implement the Fixated Threat Assessment Centre (FTAC). This police-mental health collaborative model assesses and responds to serious threats of violence posed by high-risk individuals with complex needs.

In 2018-19, FTAC received 90 referrals of people who showed early warning signs of fixation or pathological grievance that could result in extreme violence.

Commitment 2019-20

Fixated Threat Assessment Centre

The FTAC has proved a promising approach to targeting individuals who show signs of threatening behaviour that could result in extreme violence.

That's why the Government has committed to extending the work of the FTAC with additional resources and funding.

The $53 million Melbourne Protective Security Enhancement (MPSE) program was introduced by the Government to significantly enhance security.

Through the program, a range of protective infrastructure has been rolled out across Melbourne's CBD, including:

  • the expansion of the existing CCTV network, with an extra 31 cameras
  • the installation of permanent anti-terror security measures including protective bollards and barriers at Bourke Street Mall, Flinders Street Station and Princes Bridge
  • the introduction of a 65-site public address system to provide warnings and direct people during emergencies including terrorism, sieges or riots.

Additional permanent measures are continuing to be installed in 2019-20 at six other sites identified by Victoria Police. Police have been receiving training and technology to better respond to a major security incident or terrorism attack. This includes $25 million for specialist training and more longarm firearms for better tactical responses to extreme incidents.

Crime prevention

What we have been doing

We continue our focus on preventing crime before it occurs. That includes supporting the Community Crime Prevention Program which provides grassroots solutions to local issues.

The program has a strong partnership approach and builds community capacity by engaging councils, community groups and local residents in the response to crime.

The Public Safety Infrastructure Fund committed $2.6 million for grants to councils of up to $250,000 to work with their communities on projects that improve security and safety.

Projects have included lighting upgrades, streetscape and other amenity improvements and the installation of CCTV technology. A further $600,000 was allocated through the Community Safety Fund and almost $1 million in other grants to target particular high priority areas such as St Kilda foreshore.

Victoria Police is also increasing its engagement with local communities to improve safety at a local level. Through Community Safety Networks across the state, police conduct forums to discuss local issues and policing priorities, working with local communities to develop effective local solutions. This initiative is a partnership between Victoria Police, Neighbourhood Watch, Crime Stoppers and the DJCS.

Commitment 2019-20

Security industry licensing review

The Government is committed to raising standards in the security industry to make sure that these workers, who dedicate themselves to keeping the community safe are valued, respected, properly remunerated and treated fairly.