Community Policing / Crime Prevention
Community engagement lies at the core of policing.
While traditional crime-fighting and enforcement-orientated policing remains critical for Victoria, TPAV recognises that the cultivation of relationships between communities and police members has a demonstrated, long-term positive effect on crime rates, deterrence and recidivism (Ref: 6).
Through collaborative efforts, community and police members address crime and disorder using approaches determined to be best practice for their communities.
Police have an impressive record of constructively engaging with at-risk or vulnerable members of the community as a means of preventing underlying social causes of crime.
Such community policing approaches have played an important role in a long history of effective crime prevention strategies undertaken by Victoria Police.
Resourcing members to have strong relationships in Victorian communities is a high priority for the Police Association.
To be effective in reducing crime, Victoria Police must place renewed emphasis on community engagement strategies and practices.
- Proactive policing roles must be properly resourced to perform their core functions.
- Dedicated training for Victoria Police members in proactive policing roles ceased more than five years ago. Proper training should be resumed as soon as possible, especially with regard to engagement with youth from new and emerging communities. This will ensure members can confidently and effectively deal with emerging crime and challenges.
The Victorian Government’s Community Safety Statement has allocated funding for 41 Youth Specialist Officers within Victoria Police. While this is a positive initiative, TPAV recognises that proactive programs with a long history of success in Victoria Police have suffered from a gradual withdrawal of funding and diminished support over time.
Our police members and the Victorian community are supportive of the philosophies of proactive policing and advocate for an increase in visible police within their communities (Ref 7).
TPAV notes that ongoing and specific commitments need to be made in the proactive policing sphere, that include ongoing investment in the development and maintenance of proactive, early-intervention programs. Rather than have their efforts eroded by ongoing disruption to their continuity by being called upon to regularly assist with the ever-increasing demands of frontline policing, proactive members must occupy positions exclusively dedicated to this important function.
Reference 7: The Police Association of Victoria, Senior Sergeants Opinion Survey, 5 September 2016, p.13; The Police Association of Victoria, ‘Proactive Policing Survey,’ Research Report, (The Police Association of Victoria, 2016), p.10; Research conducted for the Police Association of Victoria, Public Focus Groups Report, 24 June 2016, p.12.