This page provides key considerations and useful tips on engaging Victoria Police when developing public safety infrastructure projects. It also provides advice on what information a strong letter of support from local police for a public safety infrastructure grant application would contain.
Infrastructure projects incorporating safer design principles provide an opportunity for council and local police to work together to help improve community safety in your local community.
If you are considering a public safety infrastructure project it is important to engage with police. Crime prevention strategies that combine police enforcement with situational crime prevention approaches at crime hotspots are considered the most effective. Police can help you understand the crime problem and work with you to help identify a suitable solution.
Zorka Dunstan's presentation on police providing crime information (from the Public Safety Infrastructure Fund Forum) can be viewed below:
- Contact your area police at the beginning of the planning process. Due to operational requirements, police may not be able to support late requests for assistance.
- Police can support council to understand the problem and help identify suitable solutions. This may mean undertaking a formal Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) assessment.
- Police can support grant applications by providing information about local crime and antisocial behaviour hotspots, identifying the High Risk Community Locations and providing other intelligence to help evidence the need for infrastructure projects.
- While police cannot provide unpublished crime statistics, they can provide support with hotspot mapping and crime trend analysis to assist with understanding the nature and context of the problem.
- Contact the Crime Statistics Agency (CSA) for crime statistics. The CSA can provide customised data to help councils understand the dimensions of the crime issues and support a grant application. However, it is important to allow plenty of time for the request to be actioned.
- Police can assist councils in framing a request to the CSA and, once crime statistics have been obtained, can also help council to analyse and understand the data, including any possible crime trends.
Letters of support
All grant applications
Letters of support provided by police are strongly encouraged for all grant applications and are mandatory for CCTV applications (see below). Strong letters of support from local police would include:
- A description of the crime problem that the proposed project seeks to address, including the extent of the problem and the types and nature of crimes at the location.
- A description of the impact of the crime problem at that specific location on the community and on the police.
- An assessment of any other interventions that have been inadequate, ineffective or absent.
- A description of how the proposed project will benefit the community and police.
- Evidence and/or data available that supports the application including hotspot mapping and whether the area is considered a High Risk Community Location.
- Advice on the role police will play during the project and how those activities will enhance the effectiveness of the project.
- Advice on how police will support the project evaluation.
Letters of support from Victoria Police are mandatory for CCTV applications. These must be signed by a police member at the level of Local Area Commander (known as the LAC, or Inspector) or above.
Under Victoria Police policy, Local Area Commanders are only able to provide this letter of support if they believe that CCTV is justified based on the type and number of offences at proposed CCTV sites, taking into consideration the introduction of any alternative crime prevention approaches.
Accordingly, in addition to the above information, letters of support from police for CCTV applications should include:
- Confirmation that police consider CCTV is justified and the most appropriate and evidence-based solution to the specific crime problem at the proposed location/s having regard to other crime prevention approaches, and the basis for reaching this conclusion.
- Where applicable, confirmation that police agree to the installation of the monitoring and transmission equipment at the station and will facilitate the necessary internal police approvals for this to occur.
- Advice on the proposed monitoring arrangements, including whether there is a commitment to actively monitor the footage, and if so, when and for what purpose. For example, if the rationale for CCTV is to address crime and antisocial behaviour in a busy entertainment precinct, a commitment by police to actively monitor the cameras during peak periods would strengthen the application.
- Confirmation that police have considered their ongoing role and responsibilities in relation to the proposed CCTV program as outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding, Protocols and Victoria Police Policies (available to councils and police by emailing a request to firstname.lastname@example.org ). This includes a commitment to providing the necessary baseline and ongoing data and intelligence on the effectiveness of the system for evaluation purposes, and to maintaining relevant logs and records.
- Confirmation that police will ensure staff are adequately trained in the use of the system, beyond the initial training that would be delivered as part of the project implementation. This is particularly important in light of staff movement within Victoria Police.
Who to contact
In the first instance ask to speak to either the Local Area Commander or the Crime Prevention Officer (CPO). Each police division has its own CPO who acts as a liaison officer to individuals and community groups. CPOs provide advice and suggest remedies to local community safety problems. The CPO should also be able to help facilitate letters of support for funding applications.
If you are having difficulty contacting the right person at your local police station, please contact the manager of the Safer Communities Unit at Victoria Police. Email: SaferCommunitiesUnit@police.vic.gov.au or phone 9247 6352 during business hours.