11 Gangs top threat list

Sunday Herald Sun - - NEWS - WES HOSKING

GANGS rank as Vic­to­ria’s big­gest emerg­ing crime threat, ac­cord­ing to po­lice, amid in­tense con­cern about their safety on the job.

A Po­lice As­so­ci­a­tion Vic­to­ria sur­vey of more than 1000 mem­bers found 23 per cent rank gangs as the key fu­ture crime threat.

Drugs fol­lowed with 22 per cent and fam­ily vi­o­lence with 21 per cent.

The sur­vey, com­pleted dur­ing Au­gust and Septem­ber, also found mem­bers wor­ried about their safety.

Two thirds re­ported be­ing threat- ened while on duty and just over a third be­ing phys­i­cally at­tacked.

Only a fifth of those quizzed were con­fi­dent they wouldn’t get sick or in­jured as a re­sult of their work.

“This re­sult demon­strates the scale of the prob­lem that we have been talk­ing about for some time,” Po­lice As­so­ci­a­tion sec­re­tary Wayne Gatt said. “It is why re­form is so im­por­tant. “We need to en­sure that po­lice are pro­tected at work when they are pro­tect­ing the com­mu­nity.

“The best way to do that is by im­pos­ing sig­nif­i­cant con­se­quences on those who tar­get po­lice, to de­ter oth­ers from do­ing the same.”

Vic­to­ria Po­lice Com­man­der Shane Cole, from the force’s health, safety and de­ploy­ment divi­sion, said sup­port was in place for po­lice. This in­cluded men­tal health and phys­i­cal care.

“The safety and well­be­ing of our of­fi­cers, both phys­i­cal and men­tal, is ab­so­lutely para­mount,’’ Com­man­der Cole said.

Men­tal health and ter­ror­ism also ranked as ma­jor emerg­ing crime threats, listed by one in 10 of­fi­cers as their big­gest con­cern.

“The Vic­to­ria Po­lice In­tel­li­gence Com­mu­nity has pro­cesses in place to en­sure early de­tec­tion, assess­ment and re­port­ing of emerg­ing risks, is­sues and trends,’’ Vic­to­ria Po­lice spokes­woman Alex Day said. “This in­for­ma­tion is shared among the or­gan­i­sa­tion and our part­ners to as­sist with our de­ci­sion mak­ing and plan­ning.

“Along with this we also have spe­cial­ist in­ves­tiga­tive teams within the re­gions who meet reg­u­larly to iden­tify and dis­rupt emerg­ing is­sues that hap­pen across the state.”

Lack of front­line po­lice and court prac­tices such as plea bar­gain­ing seen to be hin­der­ing ef­fec­tive polic­ing were among other con­cerns.

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