A greater police presence builds a safer Waverley
In Waverley we are lucky to enjoy access to amenities including beautiful parks, vibrant shopping and entertainment districts, and convenient transport links. In using these services, the safety of residents and protection of property is paramount.
Increasing police presence
One of the most effective ways to build a safe neighborhood is to ensure a visible police presence. To boost the number of police on the beat in Waverley, 1,600 new general duty police officers and 100 additional transit squad police officers will be deployed throughout the State between 28th November 2010 and 28th November 2014. This commitment from the Victorian Coalition Government will reverse the cuts made under the Brumby Government, in particular the significant cuts to the Victoria Police Transit Safety Division.
24-hour local police stations
As part of an ongoing and visible police presence, it is vital we have local police stations opened and staffed. The Mt Waverley Police Station currently opens around 12 hours per day, however the Victorian Coalition Government has committed to upgrade the station to a 24-hour operation. I’m looking forward to seeing this commitment come to fruition and having police officers accessible to the community 24 hours a day at both Mt Waverley and Glen Waverley police stations.
Victoria Police recruitment and training
To deploy 1,700 new officers into Victoria Police and staff the 24-hour operation of local police stations, extensive recruiting and training of officers must be undertaken. This is not a quick or easy process as it is essential that officers are well-trained and ready for the task at hand.
The Glen Waverley Police Academy is not only a local icon, it is the key training ground for Victoria Police officers. To ensure trainee officers receive the best training available, I’m working to deliver the Victorian Coalition’s commitment to undertake a $27.8 million upgrade of the Glen Waverley Police Academy.
The upgrade will provide capacity for a real long-term increase in training and development of operational police. To ensure the Academy can continue to function during this upgrade, the project is being undertaken in two stages:
- The first stage will cost $10 million and include the provision of ten modular classrooms and office accommodation for training, the installation of an additional ten-bay firing range for training purposes, the conversion of space for tactical and combat training equipment and the upgrading of frontline training equipment.
- Stage two will cost $17.8 million, which includes $14.9 million for capital work upgrades, $2.4 million to meet increased operating costs and $500,000 to fund the Police Academy Master Plan.
Improving confidence in the Victorian justice system
An effective justice system is also integral to building a safe community.
To ensure Victoria’s justice system is able to meet the expectations of Victorians, the Coalition Government has introduced a number of important changes to Victorian laws. These changes include:
- The abolition of suspended sentences for those convicted in the Supreme Court and County Court of offences including murder, manslaughter, rape and other serious sexual offences, armed robbery, intentionally or recklessly causing serious injury, aggravated burglary, arson and commercial drug trafficking.
- The introduction of baseline sentences for serious offences as defined in the Sentencing Act 1991 and for additional offences such as arson, recklessly causing serious injury, aggravated burglary and major drug trafficking. Baseline sentences provide the starting point for the court in determining the minimum sentence (i.e., non-parole period) to be imposed in cases where a baseline sentence applies, and will indicate the sentence that the Parliament expects will be the median or mid-point of minimum sentences imposed for cases involving that offence.
- The introduction of community correction orders (CCO) allowing for community based orders to now include jail time.
- Increasing membership of the Sentencing Advisory Council board to include a member from a victim-run support or advocacy group, and a member who is a police officer actively engaged in law enforcement duties.
- Establishing a Victims of Crime Consultative Committee, which is a permanent reference group for crime victims to have input into policy and contribute to improving support services for victims.
- Creating the Victims’ Groups Small Grants Scheme, enabling victims’ groups to apply for grants to help meet the costs associated with their work in helping victims.
- Abolishing home detention.
- Reform of Double Jeopardy by introducing laws to allow retrials to be ordered by the Court of Appeal where new and compelling evidence emerges.
- Introduction of statutory minimum sentence for the offences of intentionally or recklessly causing serious injury when committed with gross violence.
These changes achieve a better balance between the needs of victims to see justice be done as part of their recovery, the need to provide an effective deterrent against crime being committed and the community’s expectation that those completing their justice sanction have appropriately reflected on their actions and are fit to re-enter the community.
All of these measures introduced by the Victorian Coalition Government are delivering a better, fairer justice system for Victorians.
I appreciate any feedback on your views on this important issue.