Victoria Deputy Premier Peter Ryan
Victoria Minister for Police and Emergency Services Peter Ryan
A force For The Future: Reforms To Support Next-Generation Policing In Victoria
Victor P Taffa
Victorians will be better protected by a modern, more efficient Police force under a series of reforms announced today by Deputy Premier and Minister for Police and Emergency Services Peter Ryan.
Tabling the report by Jack Rush QC on the inquiry into the command, management and functions of the senior structure of Victoria Police and the Victorian Coalition Government’s response in Parliament today, Mr. Ryan said the report provided a blueprint for comprehensive reform of Victoria Police to ensure it remained responsive to contemporary community needs.
“The Coalition Government has accepted in full, or in substantial part, 24 of the 25 recommendations, many of which will require amendments to the Police Regulation Act 1958 (the Act).” Mr. Ryan said.
“Further consultations will now occur between the Coalition Government, Police command and The Police Association (TPA) on the implementation of the recommendations where issues remain to be resolved.”
“These reforms including better workforce planning, modernising the regulatory framework, clarifying the accountabilities of Police command and improving the accountability for and delivery of information technology projects will give Victorians a Police force equipped to face the crime fighting and law enforcement challenges of the 21st century.” Mr. Ryan said.
Mr. Ryan also released the details of the Victoria Police Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) and the allied benefits agreement in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with The Police Association, which he said would deliver significant productivity improvements through streamlined processes and more flexible delivery of services to the community.
“Victorians are very proud of their police force but reform is necessary if we are to have a truly modern and efficient Policing service in this state.” Mr. Ryan said.
“The Coalition Government is funding the largest single-term expansion of Victoria Police in Victoria’s history and it is appropriate that as the force grows, taxpayers’ funds deliver significant benefits to the community.”
“Work is already underway implementing a number of Mr. Rush’s recommendations, which go hand-in-glove with improved Policing services that will be achieved through the recently-signed Police EBA and allied benefits agreement.” Mr. Ryan said.
Mr. Ryan said the Police EBA and the allied benefits detailed in the MoU would provide a strong foundation for the work of the Chief Commissioner, his newly-announced leadership team and the hard-working rank and file Victoria Police members.
The allied benefits in the MoU, agreed with TPA, requires amendments to the Act that:
· Establishes a Police Registration and Services Board with the functions of:
Assessing the suitability, qualifications and training needs of candidates for lateral entry as sworn Police members into Victoria Police;
Enabling former Police members who have taken a career break but maintain registration with the Board to maintain appropriate probity requirements;
An advisory role to the Chief Commissioner on the training and qualifications necessary for members as part of a modern professionalised force;
· improves the efficiency for the appeals process for transfer and promotion decisions by:
Preventing the lodging of any additional documents that were not available to the original panel;
Limiting appeals to applicants for the position;
Requiring members to be available for appeal hearings;
Imposing a limit of four appeals each year that members may lodge against transfer and promotions decisions;
· Provides an improved Expression of Interest ballot process for filling general positions that will save significant time and cost;
· Clarifies the power of the Chief Commissioner to offer fixed term or part-time appointments for specific roles;
· Provides that a member who is absent from duty without permission or explanation for one month may be deemed to have abandoned their employment as agreed in the EBA.
“The new agreement and allied benefits will be underpinned by the introduction of Australia’s first Police registration board that, among other functions, will allow members on leave to remain registered, ensuring valuable skills, experience and expertise are not lost from Victoria Police.” Mr. Ryan said.
“New processes at the Board will also dramatically improve the efficiency of appeals on non-selection for transfers and promotions, which will be reduced from 75 days to around two weeks.”
“These changes alone represent significant improvements in service to Victorian families, particularly in regional Victoria where some communities may wait for months for a position to be filled.”
Mr. Ryan said other efficiency measures in the new EBA included increased management prerogative, shift and roster changes to improve flexibility in the allocation of members and PSOs.
“The productivity benefits gained through the Agreement will ensure Victoria Police is a flexible, modern and efficient work place that has the capacity to protect Victorian families by reducing crime, violence and anti-social behaviour.” Mr. Ryan said.
Mr. Ryan said the significant reforms secured in the EBA and the MoU would not have been possible without goodwill from all parties.
“At all times the negotiations were conducted in good faith and in line with the Coalition Government’s wages policy, which dictates that wage increases include 2.5 % plus additional productivity gains.” Mr. Ryan said.
Mr. Ryan thanked Mr. Rush and his team at the State Services Authority for their thorough, detailed and diligent work in completing the Inquiry.
“In particular, the Coalition Government welcomes the Inquiry’s acknowledgment of the great strengths associated with the culture of Victoria Police, namely, loyalty, resilience, courage, adaptability and an unwavering commitment to public safety.” Mr. Ryan said.