Youth workers and police officers will target and prevent youth offending in Melbourne’s north-west and south as part of a 12-month pilot program funded by the Andrews Labor Government.
Minister for Police Lisa Neville joined Victoria Police at Werribee Police Station today to launch the pilot that will see a police officer paired with a youth worker every night in the Wyndham, Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong, Greater Dandenong, Casey and Cardinia areas.
The $1.7 million Embedded Youth Outreach Program pilot is part of the Community Safety Statement 2018-19 and will see Youth Support and Advocacy Service youth workers working with police to identify what services will assist at-risk young people, and they’ll also make and case manage referrals.
The program will operate outside business hours when police most commonly encounter at-risk young people. It will not only prevent offending but also hold young people to account for their actions and send a clear message, through the Government’s strong sentencing reforms, that criminal behaviour will not be tolerated.
The program was funded in the 2018-19 Budget as part of a $15 million whole-of-government initiative to target youth offending and is in addition to 42 new Youth Specialist Officers, currently rolling out in local communities across Victoria, to divert young people from a life of crime.
There are also more than 90 full-time Youth Resource Officers operating across Victoria, and $16 million Youth Crime Prevention Grants, helping to address offending behaviour and recidivism by young people.
The Labor Government is also driving down youth offending through establishing Multi-Agency Panels, which bring together schools, community organisations, police and government departments. These panels have assisted a significant number of young people in Wyndham, Melton, Brimbank and Dandenong areas.
Victoria Police’s Operation Wayward and Operation Regnant has made over 700 arrests in the past 14 months to crackdown on youth offending.
These programs are part of the Labor Government’s continued investment in police which has seen more than $2 billion provided for 3,135 additional police officers, new powers, equipment and additional measures to hold young offenders to account.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Police Lisa Neville
“This pilot is about holding young people to account for their actions but also helping reduce youth offending by providing better access to services that minimise re-offending.”
“The dedication and experience of youth workers will play an important role in breaking down barriers between police and young people and give them the support they need – an important step in tackling youth crime.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Werribee Tim Pallas
“This pilot program is an important one, helping break down barriers and engaging young people early to prevent youth crime in our community.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020