Victoria Police will recruit 42 new specialist officers who will focus on reducing serious crimes committed by young offenders, with 10 to come to the Western policing region.
The youth specialist officers will be recruited from within the police force and all are expected to be deployed by the end of the year.
There are no details yet as to where the 10 officers in the Western region will be based, but Victoria Police has confirmed at least one officer will be deployed in each division.
The policing division in which Bendigo lies is one of six in the region and stretches from Gisborne to Gunbower.
Priority Communities Division Commander Stuart Bateson said that while the number of young offenders was declining, there were still a number committing serious offences.
“The YSOs will be responsible for providing a targeted and coordinated response to young people who commit high-impact crimes such as aggravated burglaries and carjackings,” Commander Bateson said.
“They will complement the existing role of the Youth Resource Officers (YROs) – proactive police members that focus on early intervention and prevention.”
He said the officers would also develop new approaches to how police responded to serious offences committed by young people.
Victoria Police says the officers will also work closely with other agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services, courts, and youth service organisations.
The new officers were part of a state government commitment outlined in the 2017 Community Safety Statement.