Victoria’s tough-on-crime politics has stolen billions of dollars from communities

2 September 2022

The Victorian Auditor-Generals Office published a report that found that Victoria Police received $2 billion for new staff, without producing a proper business case, and that it cannot show that the funding has resulted in any benefit. VALS believes this funding, and subsequent expenditure in further staffing and weaponry for Victoria Police, should have been invested in community programs.

The Effectiveness of Victoria Police’s Staff Allocation report finds that Victoria Police:

  • “Does not have any modelling or forecasting to understand or plan for its staffing requirements”
  • “Cannot assure itself or the community that the 2,729 additional police officers it received as part of the $2 billion Community Safety Statement (CSS) program delivered community safety outcomes”
  • “Has not since attempted to assess the incremental benefits realised from the investment.”

Toxic tough-on-crime politics, played by both major parties and some minor parties, has created a situation where Victoria Police and The Police Association of Victoria wield an enormous amount of power over the Victorian Government and the Victorian Parliament. This has allowed them to receive huge amounts of taxpayer funding without any proof it was needed or without any evidence that the expenditure has delivered results.

The truth is that Victoria does not need any more police or police funding, and continuing to pour money into Victoria Police is hurting communities across Victoria.

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people are over-policed and over-incarcerated. More police means that more of our people are harassed and mistreated, more of our people are put in prison, and more of our people die in custody.

Over the last decade there has been a huge increase in Victoria’s prison population. The rate of Aboriginal  incarceration almost doubled. Aboriginal women and children have been particularly affected, with Aboriginal women now the fastest growing demographic in Victoria’s prisons. Many of them are victim-survivors of family violence, primary-carers, and many of them are in prison on remand – denied bail for charges of low-level offending. They need support, not police.

Quotes Attributable to Nerita Waight, CEO of VALS

“The findings of the Auditor-General have been obvious to us all along. Everybody who understands the criminal legal system knew these were bad investments. They were always about investing in political outcomes for politicians, not the safety of Victorians.”

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have suffered the brunt of these bad investments. Our people continue to be over-policed by Victorian Police, an institution built on racist foundations, and plagued by systemic racism.”

“Ahead of the 2022 Victorian election, all politicians should promise to end the wasteful spending on Victoria Police, and invest that money into community-led solutions that will actually make our communities stronger and healthier.” 


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