The Andrews Labor Government’s investment in more police, greater protection and better prevention is helping make Victoria a safer place.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services Lisa Neville today launched the $212 million Police Assistance Line (PAL) and Online Reporting Portal (OLR) for non-emergency matters in Ballarat, where the contact centre is based, and released the Community Safety Statement 2019-20.
All Victorians can now call 131 444 or visit the Victoria Police website to report non-urgent crimes such as theft, lost and located property reports, property damage, noise complaints, neighbourhood disputes and other general enquiries.
During a four-month trial more than 70,000 calls were made to PAL and over 1400 non-urgent crime and event reports submitted through OLR. The trial confirmed local police were able to better prioritise calls for assistance and respond to urgent reports.
The calls are answered and triaged by the contact centre in Ballarat, which is staffed by call takers overseen by sworn police, with clear processes in place to transfer the call directly to Triple 000 if the call-taker deems it an urgent matter. The PAL/OLR has also created around 250 new jobs for the region.
The new platforms are part of the Labor Government’s Community Safety Statements, and form part of a record $3 billion investment in Victoria Police and community safety, which is delivering 3135 new police, stronger laws, better police facilities and resources.
The third Community Safety Statement further commits to strengthen Victoria’s police force by increasing the presence of frontline police, while targeting significant issues including family violence, road safety and illicit drugs.
As part of the new statement, a stand-alone strangulation offence will be created to address the seriousness of this type of violence in all contexts and better protect victim survivors of family violence.
Two new 24-hour police stations will also be built in Melbourne’s growing south-east corridor, with the state-of-the-art facilities in Clyde North and Narre Warren to help increase community engagement and improve safety.
Protective Services Officers could also be deployed more flexibly in the community when and where they’re needed, while at the same time maintaining their current presence across the public transport network.
From today, DNA powers will also become operational to help identify criminals even faster, particularly serious recidivist offenders, and help solve serious and high-volume crime.
A commitment from previous Community Safety Statements, the new powers allow police to take DNA samples from offenders and adults suspected of indictable crimes, without the need for a court order.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Police and Emergency Services Lisa Neville
“Almost 30 per cent of calls to Triple Zero are for non-urgent matters, the new Police Assistance Line and online reporting tool will free up Triple Zero for people who really need it.”
“We’re also making sure Victoria Police have the resources and legislation they need to keep the community safe, which is why we’re introducing a new stand-alone strangulation offence and overhauling our DNA laws.”