Monday 5 February 2018
Police in Schools Program
We need to tackle this violent scourge of youth crime to keep Victorians safe.
A Liberal Nationals government will complement our tough sentencing, bail and parole changes with a comprehensive plan to engage with young people in the community, particularly those who are at risk.
A Matthew Guy led Liberal Nationals government will work with Victoria Police to re-establish a ‘Police in Schools’ program for Victoria.
The ‘Police in Schools’ program is a major proactive child and youth engagement initiative to assist police to better engage with young Victorians who are still at school, and to restore respect for police and the community.
An additional 100 new police will be funded to work as School Resource Officers to complement the existing Victoria Police Youth Resource Officers.
The officers will become trusted members of the school community and as such will provide an opportunity for members of that community to seek advice about a range of policing issues, including the scourge of family violence.
The program will also incorporate a pilot project to embed full-time, one dedicated police member into each of 10 metropolitan and regional secondary schools, for a two-year trial period, in areas identified as having specific youth needs or ‘at risk’ challenges.
The former Victoria Police ‘Police Schools Involvement Program’ was axed in 2005 by then Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon despite a Department of Justice commissioned Monash University study into the Program in 2004, which found that the program was effective and recommended that it should continue with some improvements.
Victoria is the only state in Australia that does not currently have a ‘Police in Schools’ program.
NSW and Queensland Police have Youth Command structures and have different but similar police in schools programs.
NSW Police has approximately 270 School/Youth Resource Officers in total under its Youth Command.
The proposed Victoria Police program would see the 100 additional police and existing Youth Resource Officers allocated to a Youth Command delivering ‘Police in Schools’ and other youth programs.
There is a public perception, supported by results of a Police Association survey in 2016, that “there is a low police presence within local communities”, and the public “requires a greater visible police presence on the streets to increase their perceptions of public safety and engagement with their local police officers”.
Further, the survey found that the community overwhelmingly “supports the objectives of proactive policing, including youth engagement and working with new and emerging communities”, and “76% of community members believe that it is very important or quite important that that the police patrolling within their suburbs have the time to interact with community groups and members of the public”.
There are 2,239 schools in Victoria (1,528 state primary and secondary, 492 Catholic schools and 219 Independent schools) as at 1 July 2017.
The total cost of the Victoria Police ‘Police in Schools’ policy package is estimated at $50 million over four years.
Attributable to Leader of the Opposition Matthew Guy:
“Daniel Andrews thinks police belong behind a desk. I want police out on the beat and engaging with the community.
“Getting involved in communities at the grassroots level is a positive policy that will ultimately reduce crime.”
Attributable to Shadow Minister for Police Edward O’Donohue:
“Tougher sentencing, bail and parole are all important but we are also focused on proactive policies to prevent kids from going down a path of crime.
“This program will help school children have a stronger understanding and respect for police and help break the cycle of youth crime.”
Attributable to Shadow Minister for Education Tim Smith:
“It’s critical the education system gets back to basics and that also means building respect for our police and our institutions.
“The Liberal Nationals are committed to returning to a back to basics curriculum that gets the fundamentals right, underpinned by Australian values.”