Police will zone in on known arsonists during the fire season with high visibility arson operations to be matched with boosted intelligence gathering, as part of the Brumby Labor Government’s $867.3 million response to the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission report.
Police and Emergency Services Minister Bob Cameron said Victoria Police and the Country Fire Authority (CFA) would also work together on the next generation of arson-targeted intelligence to help map where arson is occurring and identify problems before they begin.
“The Brumby Labor Government’s strong economic management means that our State Budget has the capacity to fund new measures as we undertake fundamental reforms to how our State deals with the threat of bushfires,” Mr Cameron said.
“As part of these significant changes, Victoria police will run increased patrols to boost police visibility on high fire risk days in high fire risk areas – would be arsonists will know that they are being monitored.
“Victoria Police’s new Operational Response Unit (ORU) – funded by our Government for targeted operations – will be working on arson operations this bushfire season to boost the work already undertaken by local police in fire-prone areas across the State.”
Mr Cameron said that in addition to extra manpower to reduce arson events, the Brumby Labor Government would commit $2 million towards further equipping Crimestoppers and Victoria Police to gather information from the community about possible arsonists to target police activity.
“There is also already work underway that will see Victoria Police and CFA share intelligence to better identify possible arsonists which will enable arrangements to be put in place that boosts community protection through greater identification of arsonists,” he said.
“Victoria Police will be provided with intelligence analysts to assess this and other information to inform police in targeting their operations.”
Mr Cameron said the Brumby Labor Government would provide resources to Crimestoppers and Victoria Police to gather information from the public about possible arsonists in order to task police activity. This will include a Crimestoppers Arson Hotline (1800 333 000) and a campaign to encourage the public to report suspicious activity and information.
“We will be investing in measures that will make a real difference to our emergency service agencies being able to better map, predict and identify potential threats to the community so that we can take the action required to keep communities safe,” Mr Cameron said.