New police, armoured vehicles and state-of-the-art technology will set up Victoria Police to become national leaders in the fight against gang crime, family violence and drugs.
The $596 million Public Safety Package is the law and order centrepiece of the Victorian state budget announced by Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday, alongside police Commissioner Graham Ashton and acting Police Minister Robin Scott.
“We promised to deliver everything Victoria Police need to keep Victorians safe and that’s exactly what we’ve done,” Mr Andrews said on Sunday.
“Hundreds more police and new state-of-the-art technology will mean those already on the front line have the support they need.”
Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton welcomed the funding, saying the injection of staff and technology would help Victoria Police deal with the many challenges ahead.
“There has been an increase in gangs operating in Victoria … and the task force (focusing on reducing gangs) will be doubled,” he told reporters.
The package includes 300 front line police officers, a further 106 specialist police and 52 support personnel.
Twenty new Special Operations Group officers will be recruited to expand police capacity to respond to terrorist incidents.
The budget also includes money for a heavy armoured vehicle and three new bulletproof vehicles for specialist units.
Police officers will also get bodyworn cameras, new tablets and IT equipment to help address the recommendations of the family violence royal commission.
Opposition police spokesman Ed O’Donohue took some credit for the announcement after the opposition’s pursuit of law and order issues.
“With police numbers today virtually the same as when the coalition left office, today’s announcement will only go some of the way to make up for Daniel Andrews’ neglect of Victoria Police,” Mr O’Donohue said.
WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THE PACKAGE:
* Hundreds of new general duties police
* A new heavily armoured vehicle
* Three new bulletproof vehicles
* Bodyworn camera, new tablets and IT equipment for those on the frontline