EARLIER this week, Chief Commissioner Ken Lay released a "blue paper" that outlined his vision for the future of policing in Victoria over the next 10 years.
I have read the paper – and it certainly throws up some interesting ideas for discussion, not only among police, politicians and our union; but the ideas should also be openly discussed and debated in the community, because ultimately the community is the most affected part of this future.
I am not going to give my personal opinion on any of the issues raised in the paper, so if you are waiting for me to do that, sorry. It’s just not appropriate for me to do that at this stage.
I will, however, outline some of the areas for discussion in the paper, and I would love to hear back from you about your thoughts. Here are some of the ideas put up for discussion:
Police officers to be tested for their physical fitness and health before being eligible for pay rises or promotions;
Police officers being subject to intense psychological testing to identify those who will be more resilient and ethical;
Greater use of technology that enables police to spend the majority of their time on the road, not back in the station tied to a computer desk;
The use of "volunteer" police to supplement the paid workforce in some areas;
The introduction of "Supersite" police stations, with smaller towns and quieter areas being serviced by online reporting, shopfronts or self-serve kiosks. This is expected to increase police patrol time in communities from 54 per cent to 80 per cent;
Outsource some of our administrative duties to allow for more patrol time. Some of the areas proposed for outsourcing include processing traffic fines, prisoner management, booze buses, and attending sports events;
Re-hiring retired police on contracts to investigate cold case crimes and assist on taskforces;
High-achieving recruits with specialised skills could be fast-tracked into higher-ranked positions without having to go through the traditional “time served at previous rank” process. This would include interstate police transferring laterally into our organisation;
More rigorous checks on recruits and ongoing ethics training for police to raise the ethical standards of police and create early intervention processes;
Recruit more women, people from diverse cultural backgrounds, and indigenous Australians to better reflect the community we represent;
Increase the ability to report crime and suspicious behaviour online – to better reflect the modern communication methods; and
Prioritising crimes on "solvability" to better use resources, while still focusing on support to victims of all crimes.
I think the paper is an excellent document to begin the discussion about the future of policing in this state.
I believe that is its purpose, to facilitate a discussion in the community – which is exactly what should happen.
I’d love to know your thoughts on some or all of the ideas put forward by Chief Commissioner Lay.
If you have any opinions or comments you’d like to make about the ideas, please let me know, I would love to hear them.