Acting Premier Peter Ryan and Minister for Corrections Edward O’Donohue today inspected the recently installed relocatable accommodation units at Dhurringile Prison.
They were joined by local members Jeanette Powell, Wendy Lovell, and Amanda Millar, as well as Bob Allan, CEO of Royal Wolf, the company supplying the accommodation units.
Mr Ryan said Corrections Victoria has installed 50 of the accommodation units at minimum security Dhurringile, with each unit capable of accommodating two prisoners.
“These relocatable units are providing an important immediate boost to capacity in Victoria’s corrections system,” Mr Ryan said.
“We were pleased to see 40 prisoners accommodated in these new units prior to Christmas, and another 20 just last week, with more to follow shortly.”
Mr O’Donohue said the installation of the units is just one of the measures that have contributed to a dramatic fall in the number of prisoners being held in police cells.
“From a high of 372 in mid-November, the number of prisoners in police cells is now down to well below 200,” Mr O’Donohue said.
“While we are constantly increasing prison capacity, this reduction is also a result of great co-operation between Corrections Victoria, Victoria Police and the courts.
“Weekend Magistrates Court sittings, the Melbourne Magistrates Court sitting in the County Court and increased videolink facilities have all contributed to this good result by increasing the efficiency of the flow of offenders through the system.”
Mr Ryan said that the Coalition Government is currently delivering the largest prison expansion in Victoria’s history to support the growing prisoner population.
“We are building new permanent beds and expanding existing prison facilities as quickly as possible.
“These new relocatable accommodation units add to the total of 791 beds that have been opened since the start of 2011, with around 2,500 further beds in the pipeline.”
The security and design of the new units, also known as dongas, is consistent with the standard security accommodation at Dhurringile and at other prison farms across the state.
A dedicated officers' post has been installed to monitor the new units and extra staff have been added to manage the additional prisoners.
The units will be locked at night and fitted with duress alarms and smoke detectors.
Mr O’Donohue said only the lowest security prisoners will be housed in the new units.
“Corrections Victoria worked closely with staff to finalise these security arrangements before prisoners moved in,” Mr O’Donohue said.
“We are also looking at whether similar accommodation can be used at other prisons, including Langi Kal Kal and Beechworth, and other walled prisons, where appropriate.”
Prisoners at the minimum security Dhurringile Prison are lower risk. Many of them are coming to the end of their sentence and preparing to transition back into the community.
Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan has called on community groups from across Gippsland to apply for funding through the latest round of the Victorian Coalition Government’s Community Safety Fund Grants - Crime Prevention Program.
Mr Ryan said community groups, as well as local government, could apply for funding worth up to $10,000 for each local crime prevention initiative.
“I encourage all community and sporting groups, as well as local government, to think innovatively about projects that will make a difference to the safety and security of our local communities,” Mr Ryan said.
“The basis of the Crime Prevention Program is for local communities to come up with their own local solutions to help prevent crime in their local area.
“Last year, the Victorian Coalition Government provided $1 million to fund 155 projects across the state, including projects in Sale, Rosedale, Golden Beach, Toora and Mirboo North.
“Locally funded projects included the installation of security alarms, fences, sensor lighting and security doors.”
Mr Ryan said funding worth up to $25,000 was also available through the Graffiti Prevention and Removal grants program and would be provided to local councils working in partnership with the community.
Further information on the Community Safety Fund Grants - Crime Prevention Program can be found online, at www.justice.vic.gov.au/communitycrimeprevention.
Application for the latest funding round close at 5pm on Friday 31 August 2012.
Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0437 108 870
Tuesday 28 June 2011
New laws introduced into Parliament this week will make travelling on public transport at night safer under the Victorian Coalition Government’s promise to deploy 940 Protective Services Officers (PSOs) on all metropolitan and major regional train stations from 6pm until the last train, every day of the year.
Deputy Premier and Police Minister Peter Ryan said the Justice Legislation Amendment (Protective Services Officers) Bill 2011 would give PSOs the powers they needed to reduce crime, violence and anti-social behaviour in and around train stations.
“The Coalition Government is delivering on its commitment to stop crime in its tracks with the introduction of a comprehensive bill to enhance safety on the rail network,” Mr Ryan said.
“As part of these critical reforms, Victoria Police is proposing to extend the training for PSOs deployed to the rail network from the existing nine week program to 12 weeks.
“The extended 12 week training program will include ‘on the job’ training at inner city rail stations to strengthen the skills of PSOs.”
Mr Ryan said PSOs would continue to undertake the same Operational Tactics and Safety (OTS) Training as police, which included the same firearms training and defensive skills training, and that refresher OTS Training would be required every six months.
“PSOs won’t have all the powers police have but this bill will ensure they are able to curb crime, violence and anti-social behaviour by having the power to apprehend, detain, arrest, remove or impede any offenders or threatening individuals,” Mr Ryan said.
Mr Ryan said the deployment of PSOs would be determined by Police Command in consultation with the Department of Justice, the Department of Transport and the Coalition Government.
“Victoria Police will be able to take into consideration operational requirements and, in consultation with relevant authorities, deploy two PSOs to each railway station across the metropolitan area and at major regional centres,” Mr Ryan said.
The Coalition Government is providing $212 million to recruit and train 940 PSOs by November 2014.
A recruitment drive to attract people to fill the new positions will begin following passage of the bill through Parliament.
Media contact: Sonia Heath 0413 485 526
The Victorian Coalition Government is investing $17.8 million in the Victoria Police Academy to ensure Victoria Police can recruit and train 1,700 extra frontline police and 940 Protective Service Officers (PSOs) by November 2014.
During a tour of the facility at Glen Waverly today, Minister for Police Peter Ryan said the Academy would undergo major upgrades to meet the Coalition Government’s election commitment.
“The Coalition Government is committed to ensuring Victoria Police has the resources it needs to recruit and train the right people to join the fight against crime, violence and anti-social behaviour,” Mr Ryan said.
The $17.8 million budget boost includes $14.9 million for upgrades to the academy,
$2.4 million to meet increased operating costs and $500,000 to fund the master plan.
“The recruitment and training of quality police officers and PSOs is integral to the Coalition Government’s commitment to make Victoria safer and I’m pleased to announce additional funding for Victoria Police to make that happen,” Mr Ryan said.
Mr Ryan said today’s announcement was on top of $10 million for works which were already underway at the academy and expected to be completed next month.
Current works include:
Mr Ryan said Labor’s soft-on-crime approach during the past 11 years had seen violent crime in Victoria increase by 45 per cent and assaults escalate by 75 per cent.“Victoria has had the fewest frontline police per person and spent less on police resourcing per person than any other state in Australia and it is the Coalition Government’s objective to reduce those figures in the shortest timeframe possible,” Mr Ryan said.