State Opposition Leader Matthew Guy’s promise to place full-time police officers at 10 of Victoria’s “high-risk” schools has been slammed.
Mr Guy made the promise last week, saying the policy would help quell youth offending.
“This is about combating crime before it’s a problem,” he said. “It’s about respect, it’s about tolerance. The best way to prevent crime, the best way to engage, is to adopt a police in schools program.”
A previous police-in-schools program was axed in 2005, leaving Victoria as the only state in Australia without one.
Mr Guy said the Coalition would work with Victoria Police to revive the program and that its reintroduction would help develop a culture of respect.
“This program is about developing respect for our police early on,” he said. “This will assist police to better engage with young Victorians who are still at school … we need to tackle this violent scourge of youth crime to keep Victorians safe.”
But Police Minister Lisa Neville said police were already working in schools and that Mr Guy was out of touch.
“Victoria Police is already working in our schools,” she said.
“They are out in our community every day, they are working with young people in our schools and on the street through a range of programs.
“Unlike the Liberals, who cut police, we’ve funded more youth specialist officers that will work in the areas of greatest need.
“This is on top of 100 youth resource officers who are already working in our schools, sporting clubs and other parts of our community, actively engaging with young people.
“This shows once again that Matthew Guy is out of touch and has no credibility when it comes to law and order.”