Protective Services Officers (PSOs) will be able to be deployed to shopping centres, sporting precincts and other highly populated areas to help prevent crime and support community safety, under new laws passed by the Parliament.
The new laws now confirm the Victorian Government’s commitment to expand the role of PSOs so they can be deployed to support the community when and where they are needed most.
The new laws will allow the Chief Commissioner to declare areas such as shopping centres, malls and other crowded areas to be ‘designated places’, as well as in the event of an emergency, in addition to maintaining their role on the public transport network.
This will allow PSOs to support police in places beyond the transport network where a highly visible police presence can help prevent crime and provide reassurance to the public.
Victorians have embraced the critical role mobile, flexible deployment of PSOs can play across the public transport network and now with Operation Shielding during the coronavirus pandemic – they have been vital in assisting police to slow the spread of the virus.
This is a key commitment of the Community Safety Statement 2019/20 and made possible as a result of the government’s investment in 100 mobile PSOs.
The new laws will also give the Chief Commissioner power to deploy PSOs right across the state during disasters or emergencies, supporting police to maintain public order in the event of incidents like fires, floods and other incidents.
Under the reforms, Sheriff’s officers will trial serving family violence intervention order applications for 12 months in two locations, with officers to receive additional training to support them in this role.
This will support police to focus on family violence victims and holding perpetrators to account, while also delivering on one of the key recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence.
As stated by Minister for Police and Emergency Services Lisa Neville
“These new laws were an important part of our Community Safety Statement 2019/20 and mean the Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police can deploy PSOs more flexibly to where and when they’re needed most – while continuing to maintain their presence on the public transport network.”
“We’ve seen the vital role PSOs play during the Coronavirus pandemic as part of Operation Shielding, and we’ll continue to give Victoria Police the powers, tools and resources they need to keep Victorians safe.”