Press Releases

BRUMBY INACTION CAUSES SURGE IN YOUTH CRIME

Stephanie Ryan - Friday, April 30, 2010
Shadow Minister for Police and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan today condemned the Brumby Government for its decade-long soft-on-crime approach which has caused a surge in youth crime.

“New figures revealed in the media today show the number of crimes committed by children under 14 years of age has risen by 32 per cent in the past four years,” Mr Ryan said.

“Every day in Victoria 45 school children are being questioned by police while Victoria Police Crime Statistics show children under the age of 14 were responsible for 11,000 offences in 2008­-2009.

“During the same time 41,000 offences were committed by 15 to 19 year olds.

“In March, John Brumby boasted about new measures which included knife laws prohibiting minors from legally buying a controlled weapon.

“This announcement comes ten years after former Police Minister Andre Haermeyer promised that Labor’s Control of Weapons Bill would ‘restrict the sale of knives to people under 18 years’.

“Is it any wonder children have become increasingly violent when this government is not serious about delivering on its promise to tackle juvenile crime?

“The growing number of youth offences in Victoria has exposed John Brumby’s failure to address rising levels of crime and violence,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan said a Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition Government was committed to measures to deter youth violence in Victoria, including ensuring a knife amnesty program was extended and promoted in schools.

“Victoria’s spiralling rate of crime and violence is a whole-of-life issue that requires leadership and support which will only be delivered by a Coalition Government.”

COALITION ANNOUNCES 1,600 ADDITIONAL POLICE TO MAKE OUR STREETS SAFE AGAIN

Stephanie Ryan - Monday, April 05, 2010
· A Baillieu-Ryan Government will revolutionise policing
· Largest single term increase in the history of Victoria
· National recruitment drive to commence within weeks of new government

A Victorian Coalition Government will revolutionise policing and public safety in Victoria by boosting frontline police by an additional 1,600 recruits in the first term of government, Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition Leader Ted Baillieu and Nationals Leader Peter Ryan announced today.

Mr Baillieu said the $344 million plan, Making Our Streets Safe Again, would end chronic statewide police shortages and restore public safety in metropolitan and regional communities.

“We will make Victoria safe again,” Mr Baillieu said.

“This unprecedented investment by the Coalition in policing will see a dramatic increase in frontline police numbers. It will have a huge impact in protecting communities across Victoria and will be the largest single increase in frontline police numbers over one term of government in the history of Victoria.

“Almost every region in Victoria is suffering from a lack of frontline police under John Brumby, with Victorians experiencing record levels of crime and violence. The Coalition will not tolerate crime, violence or anti-social behaviour,” Mr Baillieu said.

“Victorian families have a right to feel safe and secure in their community but under Labor, assaults and anti-social behaviour have reached record levels on our streets, with violent crime rising by 40 per cent and assaults increasing by 70 per cent.

“It is a basic responsibility of government to protect its citizens. John Brumby has failed this test. Law and order has not been a priority of the Brumby Government, but it will be a priority of a Baillieu Government. Victorians have a right to expect to be protected.

“The Brumby Government’s soft-on-crime approach has failed to make our streets safe.

“This policy will have an unprecedented impact in every suburb, town and region where police stations have been undermanned for years,” Mr Baillieu said

RECRUITMENT

Mr Baillieu said the Victorian Coalition would undertake a major police officer recruitment and training drive within weeks of gaining office.

“The Victorian Coalition will recruit and train 1,600 additional police officers ready for frontline policing duties in the community,” Mr Baillieu said.

“These officers will be made up of Victorians who want to become police officers, as well as recruits from around Australia, who will be trained at the Police Academy. An extra $8 million has been provided for capacity expansion at the Police Academy to accommodate increased recruit training.”

POLICE NUMBERS

“Victoria has the fewest frontline police per capita and spends less on police resourcing per capita than any other state in Australia,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Brumby Government has failed to provide Victoria Police with the resources required to protect communities and frontline police numbers have fallen well behind population growth and other states.”

Mr Ryan said Victorian families no longer felt safe on the streets because John Brumby’s soft-on-crime approach and lack of funding support had undermined the capacity and effectiveness of Victoria Police.

“The only way we are going to stop the disturbing trend of record violent crime is to reverse the appalling neglect of police resourcing under 10 years of the Brumby Government,” Mr Ryan said.

FUNDING

The Coalition will provide $344 million over four years to fund an additional 1,600 police, plus an additional $65 million capital allocation for operational equipment. This includes $8 million for expanded training facilities and staff at the Police Academy.

Consistent with the Coalition’s previous commitments to reduce the Brumby Government’s spend on advertising, $35 million per year – or $140 million over the next four years – will be cut from the advertising budget to fund frontline police.

This will see a reduction in the government’s annual advertising and public relations spend. The Auditor-General has found government total advertising spend to be 0.5 per cent of revenue, or approximately $200 million in the current budget year.

Some of the advertising programs likely to be cut include the government’s self-promotion of the desalination plant, transport plan (It’s all part of the plan), economic performance (We’re not waiting, we’re building), and education performance (Shine).

Advertising for essential services, safety and critical public information campaigns will not be affected.

“Many of the Brumby Government advertising campaigns are nothing more than deceptive political advertising using taxpayer funds. Victorians can decide at the next election if they want more advertisements from John Brumby or more police from Ted Baillieu,” Mr Ryan said.

The remaining $269 million, or $67.25 million per annum, will be provided from funds available in the budget forward estimates and operating surpluses, which can comfortably accommodate this commitment within the state’s budgetary parameters.

BACKGROUND

Victoria Police has some of the best police officers in the nation, but Victoria does not have the number of frontline officers needed to properly protect communities against record levels of violent crime.

The Coalition will deliver the police required to make sure families can feel safe again on the streets, on public transport and in their own homes.

This announcement is part of an integrated plan to stop and reverse the culture of violence and growing levels of crime in Victoria. A significant increase in frontline police is crucial to all of these initiatives.

Many of the specific issues which have emerged over the last three years, including an increase in knives, alcohol-fuelled violence, gangs, hoons and anti-social behaviour, require a range of tailored responses – but any effective response needs an adequate number of police on the street.

POLICE SHORTAGE QUESTIONS RAISED OVER COMMUTER KNIFE ATTACK

Stephanie Ryan - Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Police Minister Bob Cameron must explain whether staff shortages contributed to police reportedly taking about 25 minutes to respond when a train commuter was allegedly threatened by a knife-wielding teenager yesterday, Shadow Minister for Police and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan said today.

“It is an extremely serious matter if acute police shortages forced this commuter to
single-handedly restrain his alleged attacker by the wrist for a prolonged period of time before help arrived,” Mr Ryan said.

A teenager has been charged with assault and carrying a prohibited weapon after a commuter was threatened with a knife yesterday morning after asking a teenager to remove his feet from a seat.

Fellow commuters say the victim was also repeatedly kicked in the back by another passenger while he held his alleged attacker’s wrist.

“If police took a further 25 minutes to respond to the incident once the train arrived at Keon Park train station, that is unacceptable,” Mr Ryan said.

“The increasing frequency of violent assaults, robberies and bashings on trains and at train stations in Melbourne and throughout regional Victoria is alarming.

“Commuters should be able to travel on public transport without fearing for their own safety, but chronic police understaffing has made that virtually impossible.”

Mr Ryan said the Brumby Government had failed in its duty of care, leaving Victorians exposed to increasing violence.

“John Brumby’s promise to make Victoria safer lacks credibility without additional police and resources to tackle spiralling violent crime,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Coalition will put 100 more Transit Safety Division police on the network around the clock to protect Victorian commuters from violent crime.

“Police do a mighty job with the resources they have available, but they need to be properly supported by the government and at the moment that is simply not happening.

“John Brumby and Police Minister Bob Cameron will continue to jeopardise the safety of Victorians as long as they fail to recruit more frontline police to address rising crime levels,” Mr Ryan said.

LABOR CAN’T BE TRUSTED TO CHANGE VICTORIA’S KNIFE CULTURE

Stephanie Ryan - Tuesday, February 23, 2010
The Brumby Government can’t be trusted to curb Victoria’s growing knife culture, Shadow Minister for Police and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan said today.

“A spate of stabbings in Melbourne has forced John Brumby to declare a ‘war on knives’ but there is little to show the Premier will be true to his word,” Mr Ryan said.

“During the past 10 years the Victorian Government has repeatedly claimed it will stamp out knife crime.

“A growing number of knife attacks in Melbourne has exposed Labor’s failure to crack down on escalating levels of crime and violence,” Mr Ryan said.

In March 2000, Labor’s Police and Emergency Services Minister said in a media release: ‘A climate of fear had been created by an increasing number of people arming themselves with knives … it is a trend that must be turned around’.

“It is obvious Labor’s campaign was about government spin and self-promotion, because minors can still buy controlled weapons today.”

Labor’s hollow promises to reduce knife crimes: 
  • Labor acknowledges a trend of increased weapons use and pledges to tackle the ‘proliferation of knives’ (25 September 2002) 
  • Labor’s 2006 election policy on community safety says Labor will keep working to reduce the weapons threat by taking a hard line on the carrying of weapons 
  • ‘We want to cut the culture of carrying knives’, Bob Cameron declares (20 December 2007);
  • Responding to a question on ‘a safer Victoria’ Premier Brumby claims that is ‘exactly what we are delivering’ (8 August 2007)

In 1999 Labor promised to address the proliferation of knives, under its ‘No more excuses on crime’ police policy,” Mr Ryan said.

“Violence has escalated under Labor and Victorians no longer feel safe because not enough police are on the streets to protect them.

“After years of inaction Labor cannot be trusted to deliver on its pledge to crack down on knife crime.”


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