Four hundred police officers are a step closer to being redeployed to frontline crime fighting as legislation giving powers to custody officers is introduced into Parliament on Tuesday October 6.
The 400 new custody officers are among the 600 additional police personnel introduced by the Andrews Labor Government, including forensic scientists, transit police and PSOs, and detectives dedicated to supervising serious sex offenders on supervision orders.
Police Minister Wade Noonan said the Justice Legislation (Police Custody Officers) Bill 2015 would free up police to do the job they were trained to do.
The Government has invested $148.6 million to recruit, train and deploy 400 custody officers in 22 police stations in Victoria over the next three years.
Recruitment began last month for the first round of custody officers, who will start their training at the Police Academy in December.
The officers will begin to be deployed first to six pilot sites from January 2016.
Under the new laws, custody officers will have the power to:
- manage prisoners in police cells, including the power to search prisoners and use reasonable force to maintain the security, safety and good order of the police cells
- supervise offenders in police stations
- transport people to and from court, police stations and other places, and
- guard offenders in hospital
Officers will also be able to supervise offenders while they take their own swabs for DNA samples and help with breath and drug testing in police stations.
The officers will be employed as public servants by the Chief Commissioner, not police officers, and will not use guns or tasers.
The legislation was developed in close consultation with Victoria Police, The Police Association, and the Community and Public Sector Union.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Police Wade Noonan
“The Andrews Labor Government is delivering on its election commitment to put more police back on the beat to fight crime and keep the community safe.”
“This legislation gives Victoria’s new custody officers the powers they need to manage police cells so that sworn officers can get back into the community to tackle crime.”
“Custody officers will provide a major boost to police resources and will allow more police to do what they do best – fight and prevent crime.’’
- The six priority pilot stations are: Sunshine, Dandenong, Heidelberg, Ballarat, Geelong and Broadmeadows.
- The remaining stations are: Bairnsdale, Bendigo, Frankston, Horsham, Mildura, Mill Park, Moorabbin, Morwell, Ringwood, Shepparton, Swan Hill, Wangaratta, Warrnambool, Wodonga, Sale and Spencer Street Police Complex.
- Victoria Police will determine the rollout of the officers based on their operational requirements.
- They may also be progressively deployed to other locations over time depending on resourcing needs and allocation by Victoria Police.
Reviewed 10 February 2021