Improving Victoria Police capability, culture and technology
Our police need the right training, technology, and tools to help keep our state safe.
The Government is delivering just that. We are investing in a modern police service that reflects the community it serves.
To best serve the community, we also need our police to be healthy and well. It’s why Victoria Police is increasing mental health awareness and improving wellbeing with better access for its staff to mental health support.
What is being done
More police, protection and prevention
A new police intelligence system
Victoria Police has rolled out a new police intelligence system to help solve crimes faster by automating the search of multiple databases at the same time. This means searches that might have taken days can now be done in seconds, which means quicker arrests of recidivist offenders.
In 2017, the new system was made available to intelligence analysts across the state.
Victoria Police is working to further expand the reach and accessibility of the system in 2018, with additional databases and an expanded user group. Once the databases are connected, police will be able to quickly pull information to:
- gather information on crimes and offenders with greater efficiency
- link people, events, vehicles, properties and activities to produce highly sophisticated intelligence
- better identify previously unknown criminal links, trends and patterns in criminal activity
- better predict local crime trends and hotspots.
This system means investigators and analysts can automate the process of intelligence gathering, so that police can act quickly and safely to resolve incidents and more efficiently investigate crime.
Mobile devices for frontline police
Victoria Police is issuing frontline police with mobile devices to ensure frontline officers can spend less time in the office, and more times in the community. The new devices will also improve responsiveness and efficiency by ensuring police and PSOs can quickly capture and share information.
The capability of the devices will evolve to include capturing evidence, identity checks and crime reporting.
The first of Victoria Police’s new mobile devices hit the streets in 2017. By the end of 2018, more devices will have been deployed to more police officers across Victoria. More than 10,000 devices will be rolled across the state over the next five years.
When fully rolled out, all frontline police will have in-field access to enter details and access information to best respond to incidents in real time.
A police officer patrolling a railway station used a mobile device to check on a group of people there. This revealed that one of them had an outstanding warrant from a decade ago for a sample of his DNA to be collected. He was taken to the nearest police station to provide the DNA sample. Having immediate access to this outstanding warrant on the spot, enabled missing evidence to be collected to assist police with an investigation.
Expanding the Air Wing
Victoria Police’s Air Wing responds to around 5,000 requests every year, supporting police and the community through:
- aerial observation with tactical assistance for ground units on operational tasks
- crime prevention and detection through regular patrols of metropolitan Melbourne
- tactical support for pursuits and responses alongside other specialist units to counter terror and other incidents
- search and rescue
- traffic surveillance to give ground units a wider assessment of any situation on major traffic thoroughfares and detection of traffic offenders
- searching for people and stolen property in hard to access areas
- giving the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) aerial observation support
- aerial photography for crime, traffic, evidentiary, planning and routine operations.
As well as these tasks, the Air Wing has a critical role in getting Victoria Police specialist teams to where they are needed across the state.
To continue this work, Victoria Police has tendered for a new fleet, which will include new helicopters and a fixed-wing plane and will finalise the purchase and conduct planning for the rollout in 2018.
This investment will give police new ways to tackle crime and while ensuring Victorians have faster access to specialist police services when and where they need them.
Supporting the mental health of Victoria Police staff
When police feel supported they can better serve our state.
After an independent review of mental health services in Victoria Police in 2016, Victoria Police introduced a range of initiatives to improve the mental health of its staff.
In 2017, the Victoria Police Mental Health Strategy and Wellbeing Action Plan 2017-2020 was released. This maps out a comprehensive three-year approach to protecting, promoting and preserving the mental health and wellbeing of officers and staff at Victoria Police.
In 2017, 250 Victoria Police senior employees participated in a Leadership Capability Uplift program that included an introduction to mental health literacy. This program is a foundation piece in the implementation of a comprehensive mental health awareness program.
During 2018, Victoria Police will develop a mental health website that will be available to all employees, former employees, their families and the public. Wellbeing services will be reviewed to ensure Victoria Police staff have access to the support they need.
A second Trauma Recovery and Resilience group treatment program will commence in 2018 following a successful pilot, while a Mental Health Pulse Survey will be conducted every three months to monitor Victoria Police’s progress in creating a more supportive culture.
Work is also continuing on more than 24 other projects in response to the 39 recommendations made in the 2016 Mental Health Review.
What we’ll deliver
- new equipment and weapons for Victoria Police, including new longarm firearms
- changes to processes that will see police spend less time behind a desk and more time in the community
- promoting a healthier and safer workplace for Victoria Police staff.
More police, protection and prevention
New equipment, technology and weapons
We’ve made the biggest investment in Victoria Police, ever.
That investment will see 3,135 new officers across Victoria.
At the same time, we need to ensure they have the equipment and technology they need to tackle crime and reassure the community.
In 2017, the Government invested in new equipment including vehicles, night vision glasses and protective shields for specialist response teams.
During 2018, Victoria Police will finalise the purchase and planning for a state-wide rollout of additional specialist equipment.
This equipment, worth more than $170 million, includes new body-worn cameras, mobile technology, armoured vehicles and replacement operational equipment vests.
The latest mobile technology will be rolled out to frontline police and PSOs, as well as the continued rollout of the new cutting-edge intelligence system.
In 2017, Victoria Police completed its rollout of 570 conducted energy devices, commonly known as ‘tasers’, to frontline police in regional Victoria.
The Government will now invest in specialist training and new longarm firearms for the Operational Response Unit in metropolitan areas and regional police in four key police stations in regional Victoria.
Police in international cities across the world have access to longarms. This capability gives police more tactical options to respond to extreme incidents. And it provides community reassurance, particularly at times of heightened risk.
Equipping police with the best new tools will ensure Victoria Police have a tactical advantage in high risk situations and ensure the safety of both the community and police.
A better use of police time
Victorians want to see police spend less time behind a desk, and more time out in the community.
It’s why the Victorian Government and Victoria Police are working to improve search warrant and crime scene processes.
These potential improvements include streamlining search warrant powers, using assistants to help police execute warrants, taking copies of electronic data and securing electronic equipment for operation by experts, as well as obtaining data from computers and storage devices.
Well-designed investigative processes can lead to better outcomes in court, while the reduced administrative burden will see a better use of police time.
In 2018, the Victorian Government and Victoria Police will also review the law that enables courts to order police to pay court costs when a criminal prosecution is unsuccessful.
Better evidence for bringing criminals to justice
Being able to effectively gather and manage evidence is essential to bringing criminals to justice.
To support Victoria Police, the Government has already committed to significant improvements to forensic services, as well as changes to police powers for collecting DNA as evidence.
Building on these investments in 2018, the Government will examine whether changes to police powers can further help Victoria Police gather evidence to use in prosecutions and investigations.
This will provide faster, more efficient investigations and ensure offenders are being held to account.
Improving responses for injured personnel
Police and other emergency services personnel are exposed to traumatic incidents as a regular part of serving the community every day. Victoria Police and emergency service agencies have been working hard to promote the health, safety and wellbeing of its personnel.
The Government recognises the need for improvement in the system that supports the mental health of police and other emergency services personnel. A multi-agency working group has already commenced work on reform options for an improved model of support, based on early diagnosis and treatment for mental health issues.
The approach will be defined by putting the welfare of the injured police or emergency services personnel at the centre of the system, prioritising recovery, and enabling a quicker return to work.
Increasing workforce diversity
Our police force should reflect the community it serves.
The Diversity and Inclusion Framework 2017-2020 sets out Victoria Police’s commitment to achieving a more inclusive workforce. This will be done by delivering the required leadership, appropriate workplace behaviours and practices to foster an organisation where all employees feel safe, valued and can achieve their potential.
The framework provides the structure to deliver dedicated action plans for five priority areas. The first of these was released in 2017, the Gender Equality Action Plan.
In 2018, Victoria Police will release dedicated strategies and action plans for:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- people with disability
- culturally and linguistically diverse people
- lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.
Victoria Police recognises and values the different experiences, capabilities and skills that each employee brings to the organisation. A diverse, inclusive and respectful workforce means Victoria Police personnel will be better equipped to respond to the needs of local communities.