Vic police confidence drops, rules blamed

·2-min read

The Victorian opposition has blamed "inconsistent" COVID-19 rules for falling public confidence in Victoria Police, citing the handling of the Black Lives Matter protest compared to other rallies.

In Victoria Police's annual report for 2019-20, tabled in state parliament on Thursday, public confidence in the force fell almost six per cent short of its goal.

Its target was 87 per cent but 81.3 per cent was the actual figure.

The Victorian Liberal's upper house leader David Davis said the failure to reach the target was concerning, blaming the result on enforcing "unclear" and at times "irrational" orders.

"The police, in this case, are the meat in the sandwich between the government wanting to enforce these laws and often enforce rules quite inconsistently," he told reporters on Thursday.

"We saw the 10,000 people march in the Black Lives Matter rally, with almost no people booked.

"But, at the same time, we saw other rallies where a very different treatment was meted out."

It is the fourth-straight year that the force has fallen short of its public confidence goal and the gap has widened each time.

Mr Davis said there was a risk confidence in the police would fall further if the law wasn't applied even-handedly.

The last time Victoria Police met the goal was when it achieved 85.5 per cent against a target of 85 per cent in 2015-16.

Timeliness of crime solving is also an issue for police, with only 38.1 per cent of crimes against the person solved within 30 days. The goal is 45 per cent.

Meanwhile, the 20.8 per cent of property crime solved in 30 days is also below the 25 per cent benchmark.

Victoria Police says those two figures were affected by increased crime rates and the diversion of resources to help with coronavirus rules enforcement.

It also reported direct additional costs of about $8 million in 2019-20 related to COVID-19.

PROPORTION OF THE PUBLIC WHO HAVE CONFIDENCE IN VICTORIA POLICE

2019-20 - 81.3 per cent (goal 87 per cent)

2018-19 - 82.6 (87)

2017-18 - 83.9 (87)

2016-17 - 83.6 (87)

2015-16 - 85.5 (85)

Source: Victoria Police annual reports