Improving Victoria Police capability, culture and technology
The Government is supporting Victoria Police with the right equipment and expertise to help them work smarter and more effectively.
In April 2016, the Government announced the Public Safety Package, delivering a significant increase in technology – more than $500 million – to improve Victoria Police's ability to combat threats in an increasingly global and virtual world.
The rolling out of this package will continue in 2019-20, providing tablet devices and Body Worn Cameras (BWCs) to frontline police and PSOs.
Other high-tech equipment and expertise include:
- $24 million for additional investigators and technology to target serious and organised crime online
- $4.5 million to expand forensic drug intelligence aimed at shutting down clandestine meth labs and reducing the supply of ice on our streets
- new fingerprint experts recruited and deployed
- every Highway Patrol car to have Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology within two years, to catch dangerous drivers and make our roads safer, and
- an expanded Air Wing will allow specialist police units – including tactical response squads and crash investigation teams – to reach remote and regional areas faster.
Exploring capability expansion
Detection dogs can undertake important work detecting drugs and explosives. It's why in 2019-20, Victoria Police will examine the need for additional detection dogs to keep our state safe.
To provide an increase in tactical options for frontline metropolitan police, a rollout of Conducted Energy Devices, will also be considered. These devices give police further options to protect themselves and the community by immobilising violent individuals when needed.
Building a more effective police service
What we have been doing
Forensic and intelligence officers are using enhanced analytical testing and intelligence to identify offenders and prevent further crime.
Under legislation passed in 2019, police have new powers to obtain DNA from persons over 15 who are suspected of committing certain offences. These changes will streamline the process for frontline police, reduce the burden on the courts and assist in identifying offenders more quickly.
Forensic officers have also been given a substantial boost, with the introduction of new DNA robots. These specialist scientific instruments will substantially reduce the time taken to process large quantities of DNA, allowing police to identify offenders faster and prevent further crimes.
Two new forensic hubs opened in Morwell and Ballarat in 2019. The hubs accommodate 24 extra forensic officers and support staff, trained to perform multi-disciplinary evidence recovery for fingerprints, DNA, drugs and digital media.
Destruction of bulk exhibits
Part of keeping our state safe involves improving the safety and efficiency of Victoria Police. Currently courts require that evidence is kept in storage.
This process is resource-heavy, requiring a large amount of security protection.
The Government is reviewing the law regarding management of bulk drug exhibits, in consultation with Victoria Police and other justice stakeholders, with a view to achieving efficiencies while maintaining fair trial rights.
Victoria Police have also been able to speed up intelligence capabilities, thanks to a new intelligence platform that helps police close in on terrorists, perpetrators of family violence, organised criminals, networked youth gangs and other serious offenders with greater speed and accuracy.
These innovations will work in tandem with the investment in Victoria Police’s cybercrime capabilities. The Government has provided $24 million for new investigators to target serious and organised crime online, disrupting drugs and firearm trafficking syndicates, money laundering and child exploitation networks.
Improving Victoria Police workplace health and wellbeing
What we have been doing
Policing is a uniquely stressful job that involves frequent exposure to traumatic events.
Police employees and other emergency services workers can experience burn out, relationship breakdowns, mental illness and suicide.
Investing in the physical and mental health and wellbeing of police employees is in all our best interests.
That's why the Government is continuing support for Victoria Police by committing to ongoing programs that provide help and assistance to those working in our emergency services.
Commitment in 2019-20
Mental health care for emergency services, including police
Recognising the unique work of our emergency personnel, the Government has committed$14.5 million for initiatives to support the mental health of emergency services workers (both employees and volunteers), including police.
This includes $6 million to establish an Early Intervention and Prevention Fund to support innovative programs run by Victoria Police to promote and protect the mental health of police employees.
A Centre for Excellence and Specialist Network of Clinicians will also be established to make sure that health professionals have the skills they need to provide support for emergency services workers, and to enable emergency services workers to be put in touch with expert health professionals more quickly.
Finally, a provisional payments pilot for mental health injuries means emergency services workers will no longer need to wait for mental health treatment. This 12-month pilot program is providing eligible current and veteran Victoria Police employees (including volunteer chaplains) with payments for work-related mental health injury treatment and services for up to 13 weeks, while their compensation claim is being assessed. This is a positive step to ensure police can access vital mental health support and treatment straight away, without worrying about costs.
Commitment in 2019-20
Victoria Police restorative engagement and redress program
Positive culture change is an ongoing project. Challenging the underlying culture that excuses inappropriate behaviour is essential to establishing a representative workforce. Victoria Police, with support from the Government, accepted all 20 recommendations from the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC) 2015 Independent Review into sex discrimination and sexual harassment, including predatory behaviour in Victoria Police.
Now, a redress scheme and restorative engagement process for Victoria Police employees who have experienced sexual abuse, harassment and discrimination will be introduced.
This will give victims of workplace sexual harassment an opportunity to be heard in a safe environment and with the support they need.