My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. It relates to police resources in the Geelong, Surf Coast and Bellarine regions. According to statistics, in Geelong crimes against the person have increased 12.6 per cent, drug offences have increased 16.3 per cent, assault has increased 11.1 per cent, burglary has increased 17.3 per cent and the overall occurrence of total crime in the region has increased 3.6 per cent. This is particularly concerning for the Geelong community, as it is the incidence of violent crime which is increasing at an alarming rate. These crimes go to the heart of people feeling safe in their community.
I have raised this issue on numerous occasions, particularly in regard to the government’s promising 70 new police officers for the region more than five years ago. As I understand it, not even one-half of that number has been allocated. The specific issue I raise tonight with respect to police resources is the concern I have for the Blue Light program that has been stopped by this government. The positions of a number of full-time staff connected with the program have been axed along with the resources of the Geelong Blue Light branch and all the other branches across the state. It is a world-renowned program that helps at-risk and disadvantaged people under the age of 18 by providing assistance, guidance and programs to help them stay away from crime.
The action I am seeking from the police minister is for him to provide me with an account as to what programs this government will put in place to continue the good work that the Blue Light program has undertaken in this state for over 18 years so that the communities around Geelong will have some understanding about the direction of this government when it comes to police resources and whether it has a commitment to safety and understands the need to have programs that specifically engage with those who are under 18 and disadvantaged and that are committed to making sure that those people stay away from crime.