2018 Election Foreword

The Police Association Victoria (TPAV) proudly represents the interests of its 15,000-plus Police and Protective Services Officer (PSO) members. This document lays out our key priorities and outlines the critical issues facing police and the community in Victoria.

We present a series of practical and achievable reforms, for public consideration, that will make police and the community safer.

This agenda is directly informed by the experiences of our members on the frontline.

These proposals for reform are guided chiefly by our members’ feedback on the issues and impediments they see as critical to policing in this state.

We have addressed our members’ concerns under three major themes in this document – community safety, member safety and the improved allocation of policing resources.

Our members are the guardians of law and order in Victoria. They are dedicated, passionate and highly experienced professionals who put their lives on the line to keep our communities safe. Their work has never been as important as it is today.

The heightened threat of terrorism requires an unprecedented level of vigilance and dedication from police. The emerging threat of criminal gangs in Victoria and the scourge of carjackings, home invasions, gang-led armed robberies and the surge in youth-related crime has generated a fear in our community that needs to be addressed.

Our members require support and leadership on a number of fronts from the Government now and into the future. Police in Victoria face many and varied threats each and every day. A holistic approach needs to be taken to better protect them, as they work to protect the community.

Community safety is best promoted through adequate police numbers. Proper sta ng levels at police stations enhance the protection our members can o er the community, and to each other.

The welcome commitment by the Government to employ 2,729 additional police over the next four years is critically important in reducing crime. We now need to determine how these new police will be best deployed, where gaps need to be filled, and which communities are most in need of police resources. This must be a transparent and accountable process.

Staffing levels in road policing and police prosecutions requires urgent redress.

The residual effect of the essential ‘two-up’ policy, introduced to protect our members’ safety has been the reduction in police vehicles out on the road. Police visibility on our roads is as important a deterrent as enforcement, as we chart a path towards the ‘Road to Zero’.

The introduction of a suite of reforms to our bail laws requires more of our police prosecutors to enforce them. That responsibility too, can only be upheld through an increase in sta ng resources, particularly as sitting hours in our courts are extending.

The PSO model is working, but maintaining a sustainable PSO workforce requires a focus on retention just as much as recruitment.

Retention of PSOs can only be achieved through the inception of a defined rank structure and career path, therefore providing an avenue of career progression similar to police.

More broadly, policing in Victoria needs to modernize in step with the communities our members protect.

Embracing emerging technologies and evolving training practices are critical in remaining ahead of the curve when it comes to fighting modern crime.

It is critical that our regional members are not left behind in this endeavour. Crime doesn’t respect geographical boundaries. There must be a force-wide commitment to training and equipping our police to meet the increasing demands of their job.

The demands of a policing career can, at times, become overwhelming and place considerable burden on our members’ physical and mental health.

The process of obtaining professional mental health treatment, as it currently stands, can be as burdensome as the trigger itself.

This can only be alleviated by the introduction of a provisional acceptance model for mental health workers’ compensation claims for all serving members.

Every Victorian has the right to feel safe. Each and every one of The Police Association’s 15,000- plus members are responsible for achieving that.

The Police Association Victoria urges all political parties to consider the concerns set out in this document, to engage in debate about the most effective means of reform, and to work with us to better protect Victoria.

Wayne Gatt
The Police Association Victoria

December 2017