Community Safety Reforms Well Underway

The Andrews Labor Government has welcomed the release of the first report into delivering the Community Safety Statement (CSS) and the record $2 billion investment in police.

The report, written by inaugural Community Safety Trustee Ron Iddles OAM APM, showed significant progress has been made to boost police resources, increase police powers and strengthen community safety, as work continues to deliver on the Victorian Government’s record police investment and safety reforms.

The Government appointed Mr Iddles as Victoria’s first Community Safety Trustee to report on the delivery of the CSS – a comprehensive plan to prevent, detect and disrupt crime and bring down the level of harm caused. The approach is similar to other jurisdictions such as in the United Kingdom.

Mr Iddles is monitoring delivery of 63 major and inter-related initiatives outlined in the CSS and identifies early progress across a number of these initiatives, including:

  • the deployment of more than 300 Police Custody Officers to free up frontline police
  • the allocation of the first 300 new frontline police as part of 3135 new police, as well as the recruitment of specialist sworn and unsworn police
  • a new hi-tech 24-hour intelligence hub – the Victoria Police Monitoring and Assessment Centre
  • new police powers, including carjacking and home invasion laws, and tougher bail laws
  • the introduction of new laws into Parliament to crack down on sex offenders, public order, youth offending, trafficking of ice, production and distribution of synthetic drugs, banning cash for scrap metal and new powers for Protective Service Officers.

While this is an important start, the report also highlights future opportunities to consider, including further work on measures to better reflect community safety outcomes and engage with the community on the development of the next version of the CSS.

The report also reinforces the importance of the recently commissioned Victorian Law Reform Commission (VLRC) review into the way that victims of crime engage with the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT).

The Government announced the review as part of the victims package released after the Victorian Budget 2017/18. The review is designed to ensure that victims of crime can access state-funded assistance in a way that is fair and timely, and minimises any additional trauma.

The release of the Community Safety Trustee’s report also coincides with the opening of a community safety survey, designed to give the community the opportunity to have their say and help shape the next CSS.

Mr Iddles will report back to the government and community every six months, with his next report due by the end of 2017. The Community Safety Trustee First Progress Report is available on the Department of Justice website.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Police Lisa Neville

“I thank Mr Iddles for his expert, independent oversight. His work is helping to ensure the Government and police are delivering on our promises to Victorians and driving real change that will keep our community safe.”

“We have provided the single biggest investment in police history. This report highlights the huge amount of work that’s already underway and provides advice on the areas we need to continue to focus on.”

Quotes attributable to Mr Ron Iddles OAM APM, Community Safety Trustee

“I’m working to ensure the Government, Victoria Police and other agencies are held to account for delivering on their promises, in full and on time and with clear benefits for the community.”