New specialist police vehicles will hit the road to help crack down on public order incidents, boosting police capacity to rapidly respond to hostile and violent crowds and riotous incidents.
Minister for Police Lisa Neville today joined Acting Superintendent Greg Barras to unveil four new and specialist transport vehicles for the Public Order Response Team (PORT).
These vehicles are designed to fit an entire crew of PORT officers – including all of their protective gear, as well as their crowd control equipment. They can carry up to eight officers and mean that a PORT crew can travel to and from jobs together, giving police the flexibility to respond to incidents faster and more effectively.
Previously, PORT officers were required to travel in SUVs to jobs, with two officers in each car, so they could fit in with all their equipment.
PORT police are specially-trained to respond to crowd control issues, riot response, alcohol related anti-social behaviour, liquor licensing enforcement and out-of-control parties and brawls. They’re also brought in to assist with public safety, road policing and other local crime issues, if required.
PORT officers work in partnership with other police units when a large coordinated response is required at short notice, and large numbers of officers are regularly deployed to high-risk sporting events in Victoria.
The Andrews Labor Government has provided massive funding to the PORT’s numbers and new equipment to boost police’s response to public order incidents and events. An extra 40 PORT officers and four support staff are already in the ranks, as well as nine new vehicles, in addition to the four transport vehicles unveiled today.
Police also recently unveiled new crowd control equipment including less-than-lethal weapons, such as pepperball guns, to help officers engage with violent people at a greater distance without needing to get involved in hand-to-hand confrontations.
These new vehicles and equipment were funded in the Labor Government’s $596 million Public Safety Package in the Victorian Budget 2016-17.
They are in addition to the unprecedented $2 billion investment for the Community Safety Statement which is funding 3,135 new police, new and upgraded police stations and residences, specialist technology and equipment.
This stands in stark contrast to the former Liberal Government, who failed to invest in one single additional officer, cut $100 million from the Victoria Police budget and slashed 350 Victoria Police staff.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Police Lisa Neville
“The Public Order Response Team has been given a major boost, with 40 new staff, support officers, new equipment, and now new transport vehicles to help them respond to major incidents.”
“These officers are on the scene first, so it’s essential they can get there quickly and have access to every tool they need to keep Victorians safe.”
“These new vehicles will mean Public Order Response Team officers – and their specialist gear – can get on the ground faster.”