Increasing connection with the community
The Government’s record $2 billion investment in Victoria Police will see police even more visible on our streets and having an even greater connection with the community.
The Government is making it easier for Victorians to contact police, by visiting a police station, online, or by phone.
Connecting with local communities is also about listening to, and working with local communities. It’s why the Government and Victoria Police are developing local solutions to local issues.
What is being done
Modernising police stations and building new facilities
Victoria is Australia’s fastest growing state and includes 80 per cent of our nation’s growth areas.
To respond to this growth, the Government is upgrading or replacing 32 police stations and ten police residences across the state, and has built a new police station at Mernda. This work ensures that police stations are best placed and best equipped to serve their communities.
Modernised stations are also better designed for modern policing operations. They have greater capacity for technology and enable co-location of specialist police, while also ensuring the separation of a victim or witness from an offender in the same location.
During 2017, police station works were completed at Mernda, Benalla, Churchill, Lakes Entrance, Maffra, Moe, Sorrento and Warragul. This is further to the works completed at Geelong police station during 2016.
Over the next 12 months, Victoria Police will complete upgrades to Rosebud, Portland and Mt Buller police stations. A further six stations at Alexandra, Rutherglen, Tangambalanga, Warracknabeal, Wedderburn and Wycheproof will be upgraded, with funding for these upgrades provided through the Community Safety Statement 2017.
Mernda police station
The recently opened 24-hour Mernda Police Station in Melbourne’s northern urban fringe is an example of a facility designed to address the needs of this rapidly growing community. The state-of-the-art facility brings together uniform police and specialist units dedicated to fighting family violence, sexual offences and child abuse. Officers are supported by new technology, allowing access to up-to-the-minute information and support when fighting crime in the local community.
It is also ensuring better police responses across the area including the township of Whittlesea.
New Aboriginal Community Liaison Officers
During 2017, four new Aboriginal Community Liaison Officers (ACLOs) joined Victoria Police to grow its liaison network to 13 ACLOs and strengthen relationships and partnerships between Victoria Police and Aboriginal Victorians.
ACLOs are Aboriginal people who work with their local community to build relationships and trust, and develop a shared understanding of emerging issues. That means police and the community can work together to:
- enhance police understanding of Aboriginal culture
- prevent crime and increase community safety
- increase referrals to culturally appropriate services
- keep the community and police up-to-date about any issues.
The new ACLOs are based in Ballarat, Echuca, Geelong, and Knox. They build upon the existing ACLO workforce located in Bairnsdale, Dandenong, Footscray, Mildura, Morwell, Northcote, Shepparton, Swan Hill and Warrnambool.
In 2018, ACLOs will play a key role in ensuring that local communities are engaged as part of the solution in addressing the over-representation of Aboriginal people in the justice system.
More ways to contact police
The Government is investing in more ways to contact police and resolve non-emergency issues.
The Government has funded a Police Assistance Line and online reporting services so Victorians will be able to contact Victoria Police to report non-emergency issues, such as lost property, property damage or theft.
These new services will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from the end of 2019.
Victoria Police also has Eyewatch Facebook pages that connect Victoria Police and their local communities. Eyewatch pages are an open forum for residents across Victoria to connect with local police to share information about safety issues and help police to solve crimes in their local area.
At the end of 2017, there were 33 active Eyewatch pages. By May 2018, all 54 police service areas in Victoria will have their own Eyewatch page.
Frankston Police were called to an incident that involved a vehicle search. They found what they believed to be stolen goods. Within 24 hours of posting on the Frankston Eyewatch page, police received a call about the owner of the goods and were told they had been stolen during a burglary several weeks earlier. Police found the suspected criminal and were able to identify the goods they seized as stolen, helping prosecution. The goods were handed back to the owner.
Police Assistance Line
- Available 24/7
- Report non-emergency crimes, such as theft, burglary, property damage and graffiti
- Receive advice and be directed to Police as necessary
- Lodge a noise complaint
- Discuss neighbourhood disputes
- Seek public event information.
Online Reporting Tool
- Available 24/7
- Notify Police of an upcoming party or event, assisting them to respond quickly if required
- Register absence from a property, allowing Police to perform extra checks on routine patrols.
Addressing youth crime
Victorians are rightly concerned about young people who are at high risk of committing crimes and vulnerable to becoming victims.
In 2016-17, the Government funded $8.5 million in Youth Crime Prevention grants to address offending and reoffending from young people. Importantly, these grants are community-led, offering local solutions to local issues.
A dedicated Koori Youth Crime Prevention Grant of $1.5 million has also been invested across 25 projects designed to re-engage Aboriginal young people through prevention and early intervention programs.
Additionally, in 2018, 42 Victoria Police youth specialist officers will begin working with local communities across Victoria.
Working with local families and schools, these officers will help prevent crime through early intervention and helping young people to make the right decisions.
Listening to Victorians
The Government is committed to giving every Victorian a direct voice on community safety priorities. In 2017, the Government fulfilled a commitment made in last year’s Community Safety Statement with a large-scale consultation across our state.
With a survey of 4,620 people, a further 270 people participating in focus groups and 14 interviews with community groups, the consultation took in a breadth of views from across our state.
The findings gave the Government a robust picture of what Victorians thinks about community safety. They have been used to inform our priorities.
Because community safety issues vary in different areas, in 2017, the Government established Community Safety Networks in 12 local government areas.
These networks form a partnership between Government, Victoria Police, Neighbourhood Watch and Crime Stoppers to bring local communities together to discuss crime issues and policing priorities.
Six of the 12 funded Community Safety Networks started in late 2017 in Wyndham, Melton, Whittlesea, Cardinia, Latrobe and Ballarat with meetings and online forums.
In 2018, the six remaining Networks will start in Brimbank, Dandenong, Frankston, Knox, Shepparton and Geelong. As part of the Network program, these 12 communities will benefit from Crime Stoppers reporting campaigns and support for local crime prevention initiatives.
Community Safety Networks
During November and December 2017, the first six Community Safety Networks held 16 events involving 2,370 local residents. Victoria Police members met with people at special forums and workshops, as well as holding pop-up consultations at V/Line stations, shopping malls and community events. The issues raised with police in these discussions and online are being used to guide local crime prevention projects and, where appropriate, local policing priorities.
The networks are giving local communities real ownership of local crime prevention measures and growing community safety.
What we’ll deliver
- upgrading police stations across our state
- new mobile police stations to tackle crime when and where it happens
- expanding the presence of PSOs
- new funding to help local communities address youth offending
- improving the safety of public spaces
- addressing the over-representation of Aboriginal people in the criminal justice system.
Upgrading Melbourne CBD police presence
For Victoria Police to do their job, officers require modern and functional police stations.
In 2018, the Government will continue to support Victoria Police to modernise their stations with a replacement station in Melbourne East. The new Melbourne East station will ensure Victoria Police continues to deliver a sustained police presence in Melbourne’s busy CBD and ensuring a fast response to incidents.
Fighting crime when and where it happens
To ensure Victoria Police are available when and where they are needed, the Victorian Government is funding extra mobile policing units that can be set up anywhere in the state.
The five specialised vehicles will be fitted out with equipment such as surveillance and communication systems and a link to the Victoria Police Monitoring and Assessment Centre (VPMAC) to stamp out crime at a local level.
The mobile units may also be sent to sites of critical incidents or emergencies to operate as mobile command centres or other areas where an increased police presence may be needed.
Expanding the presence of PSOs
Victorians will continue to see more PSOs at train stations and in future on more of our transport network, including on trams, buses and at transport hubs.
The Government and Victoria Police will engage with key stakeholders on how the role of PSOs can be expanded to further complement the work of police. Crowded places such as shopping centres and malls as well as providing a presence in communities following major incidents will be part of this consideration.
Further expanding where PSOs may work will benefit the community by:
- deterring crime and anti-social behaviour
- enhancing opportunities for local crime prevention and intelligence gathering
- ensuring community safety on the public transport network.
The Government is also working with Victoria Police to explore options to create better linkages between the PSO and police workforces, and develop new professional development and career pathway opportunities for PSOs.
Creating safe public spaces
Whether it’s day or night, Victorians deserve to feel safe in public spaces.
With the right design, lighting and technology such as CCTV, we can build safer streets and spaces for local communities.
It’s why the Government will invest in improving public space safety through two competitive grant programs.
The Public Safety Infrastructure Fund will help local councils and community groups and organisations to use design and technology to improve safety in public places based on their own community’s needs.
At the same time, the Community Safety Fund will support local councils and community groups to action projects that put a stop to crime before it begins.
Working with communities to prevent youth crime
The Government will invest more in existing youth crime prevention projects that help communities stop and prevent youth offending.
Trusted organisations like Crime Stoppers and Neighbourhood Watch play an important role in helping Victorians to prevent crime in their neighbourhoods. The Government will fund these agencies and the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council to deliver local crime prevention activities across metropolitan and regional Victoria. The long-term financial viability of Neighbourhood Watch and Crime Stoppers is now more secure.
Aboriginal people are over-represented in the criminal justice system. The Government and Victoria Police remain committed to working with Aboriginal communities to change this.
The Victorian Aboriginal Justice Agreement (AJA) is the key to this goal. The AJA is a partnership between Aboriginal communities and the Government, established to improve justice outcomes for Aboriginal people. This fits within the framework of self-determination that puts Aboriginal experiences and voices at the centre of decision making.
The first AJA was released in 2000. Since then, representatives of Aboriginal communities and the Government have reviewed and built upon the achievements of the AJA. Second and third phases of the Agreement were launched in 2006 and 2013, renewing the commitment to improve justice outcomes for Aboriginal people. Work is currently underway to develop a fourth AJA.