Our commitment to you
What has been achieved since the first Statement
The first Community Safety Statement outlined the Government’s efforts to keep our state safe.
This included a $2 billion investment to help Victoria Police further strengthen its commitment to detect crime and apprehend offenders.
The initiatives and investment outlined in the first Statement are having an impact.
Recent crime data from the independent Crime Statistics Agency show that in 2017 the crime rate declined for the first time since 2011.
It also showed that in 2017, Victoria experienced the biggest drop in crime in the 12 years of data examined by the independent Crime Statistics Agency.
These decreases are welcome. But they in no way diminish the harm and trauma experienced by victims of crime.
We know that more needs to be done. It is the experience of victims that is at the heart of every effort detailed in this statement.
Community safety is the number one priority for the Victorian Government.
That’s why the initiatives and investment in the first Community Safety Statement were bigger than just one year’s funding.
It represents a fundamental change in how governments approach police and community safety resourcing and policy.
It’s about setting Victoria Police up not just for one year, but for the next decade.
Since the Community Safety Statement 2017, we have been:
- recruiting 3,135 extra police, including 415 family violence specialists
- taking the politics out of policing, by adopting the Staff Allocation Model (SAM), ensuring police recruitment is no longer at the whim of politicians but instead guided by experts
- strengthening bail laws and giving police more powers to remand a person in custody
- increasing the length of imprisonment for 12 of the state’s most serious crimes
- changing the law so that a custodial sentence – imprisonment or a drug treatment order – is the only option for serious crimes
- making it harder to get parole and increasing post-sentence supervision
- fixing the family violence system, so victims are protected and perpetrators are held to account.
Rolling 12 months - Yearly Percentage Change in Crime Statistics
Source: Crime Statistics Agency, Recorded Crime Statistics - YEAR ENDING 31 December 2017
We’re investing in the biggest recruitment drive in Victoria Police’s history.
At the same time, we’re making sure our police have the facilities and equipment they need to keep our state safe.
With more police on the beat than ever before, we’re working to protect communities across our state. We’re also making sure police officers can spend less time stuck behind a desk, employing new specialists and custody officers.
Importantly we have reformed police resourcing – using Victoria Police’s sophisticated Staff Allocation Model (SAM) – to ensure that police recruitment, allocation and deployment is determined by experts, and not the whims of politicians.
Our investments include:
- recruiting 3,135 extra police to keep our state safe. This is above and beyond filling regular turn over and includes 415 specialist family violence police to stop the harm caused by family violence and free up existing officers to tackle other crime
- delivering new youth specialist officers to work with at-risk young people to divert them from crime
- rolling out 100 additional protective service officers (PSOs) across the public transport network to better target criminal and anti-social behaviour
- full rollout of 400 police custody officers across police stations, freeing up police officers from prisoner management so they can get back on the frontline
- establishing new specialist police to fight technology enabled offending by serious and organised criminals.
Technology, tools and training
Our police officers need the right technology, tools and training to keep our state safe.
Our investments include:
- rolling out the biggest police station infrastructure program in a generation
- upgrading the Police Air Wing, which has proven vital to tracking and arresting some of our worst offenders
- developing strong new police powers to target dangerous and repeat offenders
- tooling up our specialist police with equipment upgrades for the Special Operations Group, the Bomb Response Unit and the Critical Incident Response Team and access to enhanced specialist training
- enhancing the forensic capability of Victoria Police
- giving all frontline police access to mobile technology and body-worn cameras
- a new police intelligence system to better investigate crime and catch repeat offenders
- funding a Police Assistance Line and Online Reporting portal
- providing for a revamped crime prevention model to tackle youth offending and improve community and police engagement
- equipping all Highway Patrol cars with automated number plate recognition technology to get dangerous drivers off the roads
- making it harder for organised crime to infiltrate the scrap metal industry.
At the same time, we’re reforming the criminal justice system to make sure serious and violent offenders don’t end up back on the streets.
That includes toughened bail laws, strengthened sentencing laws, reforms to the parole system, tackling youth offending, and changing the post-sentence supervision and detention scheme.
Since the Bourke Street tragedy, the Government has further strengthened bail laws.
That means it will be much harder for people accused of serious violent, drug and sexual offences to get bail.
This includes people charged with serious crimes such as aggravated carjacking and aggravated home invasion. The changes also give police the power to remand a person in custody for up to 48 hours.
We have also established a Night Court for magistrates to hear bail requests over weekends and after hours as part of a major shakeup of Victoria’s bail system.
The Government’s reforms to sentencing, which passed in 2017, are aimed at increasing sentences for some of the most serious crimes.
These reforms will increase the length of imprisonment for 12 of the state’s most serious crimes, including murder, rape, culpable driving causing death, trafficking a large commercial quantity drug of dependence, and several serious sex offences.
These reforms build on the Government’s already significant work to strengthen sentencing.
That includes changing the law so that a custodial sentence – imprisonment or a drug treatment order – is the only option for 11 of the most serious crimes including murder, rape, and causing serious injury with gross violence.
For these offences, judges can no longer impose a Community Correction Order or other non-custodial orders. If you commit one of these offences, you will be sentenced to custody – jail, or a drug treatment order.
For a further nine serious offences, the court is required to impose a custodial sentence unless special reasons apply.
The Government has also created new offences with statutory minimum prison sentences for serious crimes, including aggravated carjacking and aggravated home invasion. In these cases, courts must impose a minimum non-parole period of 3 years.
The Government has continued to implement the 2013 Callinan Review into parole, as part of a complete overhaul of the parole system.
As a result, community safety is now the paramount consideration in all parole decisions.
Additionally, serious offenders who seek parole must now go through a two-stage test – fail at either and parole will not be granted.
The Government has also passed legislation that ensures any convicted murderer who doesn’t reveal the location of their victim’s body will not be released on parole, and that anyone convicted of murder, conspiracy to murder, manslaughter, and accessory to murder of a police officer will not be released on parole.
The Government is also cracking down on youth offending, investing more than $1 billion to strengthen the youth justice system.
This investment includes new staff and higher levels of training being rolled out to youth justice facilities.
Existing facilities at Parkville and Malmsbury are also being strengthened, fortified and expanded and nearly $300 million has been invested in a new high-security 224-bed facility at Cherry Creek.
In addition, new laws have been passed to address serious offending by young people. These include:
- having the most serious youth offending heard by the County or Supreme Court, rather than the Children’s Court
- a new offence, which carries a jail term of up to 10 years, for organised criminals and other adults who recruit young people to commit crimes for them
- requirements on the Children’s Court to consider community safety in their decision-making
- to further improve transparency and support Victoria Police, the Department of Justice and Regulation is now sharing regular youth justice custodial updates including information on release dates for young people with Victoria Police
- to prevent at-risk young people from offending, the Government is funding new Community Support Groups that bring together police, government agencies, community leaders and community agencies in Brimbank/Melton, Wyndham and Greater Dandenong. These groups will identify local needs and create targeted prevention programs.
Prisons and correctional facilities
As we strengthen the police force and our criminal justice system, we must also strengthen our prisons.
The 2017/18 Budget included $145 million to address current needs, while also future-proofing the system.
In October 2017, the Government opened the new Ravenhall medium-security facility, adding an additional 1,000 beds to the system.
Since then, the Government has announced $345 million to add 470 new beds across the system, while also significantly expanding the Lara Prison Precinct, which will be roughly double the size of Barwon Prison.
Post-sentence supervision and detention
Our priority is to keep Victorians safe.
It’s why we have strengthened the post-sentence supervision and detention scheme for serious sex offenders and are extending it to serious violent offenders.
Under the Government’s reforms, offenders can be placed under rigorous supervision, including electronic monitoring, curfews, no-go zones, and strict reporting requirements when their prison sentences end. This includes harsher penalties for breaches of supervision orders and greater police monitoring of serious sex offenders.
Our changes will also ensure that when a serious violent or sex offender is deemed unsuitable for release into the community, that offender will remain within a secure facility.
We’re cracking down on crime. But we also want to prevent it from happening in the first place.
By investing in prevention, we’re helping to keep Victoria safe now, and into the future.
We know that drug problems are complex, and can affect a wide range of people.
Trauma and life challenges can make anyone susceptible to the source of drugs. We also know that substance misuse has a complex relationship with mental health issues, making the challenge of tackling drug addiction even harder.
We also know that drug use leaves families devastated and communities suffering.
It’s why we’re investing in early intervention and treatment.
As part of the Ice Action Plan we have invested $180 million to save lives, help families, support workers, reduce supply and make our communities safer and stronger. Our Drug Rehabilitation Plan invests an extra $87 million to expand treatment, invests in 100 more rehab beds, and targets dealers who put these drugs on the streets.
We are also providing more practical support for people and families trying to urgently locate drug treatment services and cracking down on unsafe private providers who prey on desperate families.
At the same time, we’re cracking down on the people who profit from these dangerous drugs, giving police additional powers to search for and seize illegal substances.
Recognising that family violence is Australia’s biggest law and order issue, the Victorian Government launched the first ever Royal Commission into Family Violence. The Royal Commission’s final report recommended a systemic overhaul of services across government.
The Government immediately committed to implementing every recommendation made by the Royal Commission, committing an unprecedented investment of $572 million in the 2016/17 Budget, and $1.91 billion in the 2017/18 Budget to fulfil that commitment.
Progress to date includes:
- $130.3 million to establish the Specialist Family Violence Court model at the Ballarat, Frankston, Shepparton, Moorabbin and Heidelberg Magistrates’ Courts as well as other court-based reforms
- new information sharing between Victoria Police, Child Protection and Corrections Victoria staff to better identify and prevent harm
- more programs to hold perpetrators to account, including a further $49.5 million for community-based responses, and $9.4 million for the Family Violence Restorative Justice program
- more assistance for victim survivors with housing and support services
- 415 family violence specialist police officers are being allocated, and a new Victoria Police strategy to combat family violence, sexual offences and child abuse – Policing Harm, Upholding the Right – has been released
- a dedicated Family Violence Centre of Learning is being established at the Victoria Police Academy to further strengthen family violence training for all police
- an external Academic Governance Board has also been appointed to advise Victoria Police on ways it can improve its family violence education in 2018.