Reforms To Better Protect Victorians

The Andrews Labor Government has acted quickly to ensure Protective Services Officers (PSOs) have the powers they need to carry out their duties and keep Victorians safe.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services Lisa Neville today introduced the Police Legislation (Road Safety Camera Commissioner and Other Matters) Bill 2019 to clarify powers for PSOs when executing arrest warrants.

A drafting error from 2011 under the previous Liberal Government meant that PSOs did not have legislative authority to execute a very limited number of warrants issued generally to police. Warrants issued to specifically named police officers were included in the original legislation.

This bill will fix this unintended inconsistency and ensure PSOs have the powers they need to execute all arrest warrants and will validate previous arrests made by PSOs in good faith.

The clarified legislation follows a suite of additional powers given to PSOs in April 2018, allowing for extended search, arrest and apprehension abilities.

The government has also committed to 100 additional PSOs across the public transport system to target criminal and anti-social behaviour. As a result of these additional resources, we now have PSOs deployed on trains, trams and on public transport in conjunction with major events including the Australian Open and the Formula One.

The Bill also strengthens the Road Safety Camera Commissioner’s role and responds to recommendations from the investigation into the WannaCry virus.

These amendments will improve the quality, transparency and timeliness of information sharing between the Commissioner, Department of Justice and Community Safety and contractors.

Importantly, these changes reflect the integral role the Commissioner has in providing the community with confidence that Victoria’s road safety camera network is operating with accuracy, integrity and efficiency.

The legislation will also allow Victoria Police to process and dispose of unclaimed lost and found property in a more timely manner.

Allowing the Chief Commissioner to reduce the current three-month minimum retention period will mean more efficient and streamlined storage of property processes in place at Victoria Police.

Importantly, a recent review found there is little likelihood of an item being retrieved by a member of the public after one month.

The government is delivering record funding and reforms for Victoria Police to ensure they have the resources, powers, laws and technology they need to better protect Victoria. This includes 3,135 new police, with more than 1,950 already allocated or deployed and the rollout of 100 additional PSOs across the public transport system to target criminal and anti-social behaviour.”

 Quotes attributable to Minister for Police and Emergency Services Lisa Neville

“We have taken urgent action to clarify powers for our Protective Services Officers to ensure they have the powers they need to keep the community safe.

“The new legislation will also help boost community confidence in the road safety camera network and allow Victoria Police to process and dispose of lost property in a more timely manner.”