'Modernised' police force to tackle new challenges

Future Victoria Police force could see fewer blue shirts on the streets, says Chief commissioner Ken Lay as he outlines a new model focusing on crime prevention.
The state's top cop wants to cut the number of police officers on the beat as part of a radical overhaul of Victoria Police.
Under the plan, police would move from local stations and crime would increasingly be tackled through specialist taskforces.
Chief Commissioner Ken Lay recently revealed explosive details of his new ''blue paper'' at a Rotary Club dinner in Wangaratta, warning that the number of front-line officers in the regional city could be halved over the next decade.
Police Commissioner Ken Lay.
Victorian Police Commissioner Ken Lay. Photo: Justin McManus
''Don't expect that in 10 years' time that you'll see 60 uniform people in Wangaratta - you won't,'' he said at the event on May 15.
''You might only see 30 people, but you'll see taskforces, you'll see lawyers, you'll see financial analysts, you'll see chemists, you'll see the people who can actually help us do the really, really difficult policing.''
A day before the event, Mr Lay told a parliamentary budget hearing the organisation was moving police away from stations. He said putting additional officers into police stations did not always curb crime.
''Four or five years ago when we actually put the additional police into police stations we found that we were starting to lose control of things like deceptions, the ice, the family violence issue,'' he said.
''So the decision was made to not put these as people driving divisional vans but to use a model … [that] could address these very difficult and complex issues, which often required us to put police at the regional level or at the divisional level.''
The Chief Commissioner's comments put him on a collision course with the Police Association, which recently called on the state government to recruit an extra 1700 front-line officers. Recent figures have shown a drop in officers working at some Victorian stations.
Police Association secretary Ron Iddles said front-line officers had to take priority. ''If you don't have the foundations right, you're going to get cracks in the wall,'' Detective Senior Sergeant Iddles said. ''Serving the community has to come first.''
He said Mr Lay had committed five more officers to Geelong, after a union rally by off-duty police in the city last week. The union had argued that front-line officer numbers in Geelong were grossly inadequate.
Opposition police spokesman Wade Noonan said the Chief Commissioner seemed keen to ''move away from the failed law and order policies of the Napthine government''.
A spokeswoman for Police Minister Kim Wells pointed to a statement from the minister last week that said the Chief Commissioner was responsible for making decisions on the allocation of additional officers. He said the government was on track to meet its election promise of an extra 1700 front-line police officers by November.