Melbourne, Apr.28 (ANI): In the wake of reports of attacks on members of the Indian community here and in other parts of Victoria, Premier John Brumby has promised to boost police numbers by almost 2000 officers during the next five years.
According to The Age, Brumby today promised an extra 1966 police, trumping the opposition's election pledge of 1600.
The 561 million dollar boost will fund the recruitment of 1700 new frontline police.
Brumby also said that his government will also recruit 200 white collar workers to replace trained police currently performing office duties who will be redeployed.
"This is a historic investment in police numbers. This is designed to keep our streets safe, this is designed to drive down crime," The Age quoted Brumby, as saying.
He also revealed that an additional 66 police will be redeployed from telephone answering dispatch services to frontline roles.
The extra police boost is a pre-election budget announcement.
Brumby said 604 of the new police would be delivered in the first year of the five-year program.
In February this year, Brumby had said that no violence would be tolerated against any community in the state, including the Indian community.
"As a father, having had a child living and studying overseas, I know what it is like to worry about your child. Are they safe? Are they happy? I also understand those parents place their trust in the jurisdiction their child has chosen to live in to do all it can to look after the welfare of their child. I take the trust placed in us by Indian parents seriously and I am determined to do everything possible to repay it," Brumby had said then.
He said that people from around the world have shaped the state of Victoria.
"We come from more than 200 countries, speak more than 230 languages and dialects and follow more than 120 faiths. Today, Victoria"s 150,000- strong Indian community is a vital part of multicultural Victoria," he said.
Brumby said assaults on Indian students in Melbourne were a cause of great concern to him.
"There have been some disturbing incidents, and some of these incidents have had racist elements.
Such racism begins and ends with a small number of bigoted, narrow-minded idiots. It is not part of our state, as evidenced by the thousands of Victorians who marched through city streets at the Harmony Walk last year. We have worked hard to bring down the crime rate, and Victoria is Australia"s safest state," Brumby had said then.
He said that the Victorian Police force was being provided with additional powers to search for weapons, move people on from trouble spots and fine people on the spot for disorderly conduct.
He revealed that the state's sentencing laws have been amended so that judges can take into account hatred for, or prejudice against, a particular group when sentencing offenders.
The Police Indian Western Reference Group has been established to identify, implement and monitor strategies to engage police and Indian communities to reduce the risk of crime," he said.
"Any attack in our community is an attack upon us all. An attack motivated by race or prejudice is particularly disgraceful," he said then. (ANI)