Victoria Police is targeting the gay and lesbian community in its largest ever campaign to attract new officers.
Launching the two-year advertising campaign, Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Simon Overland told Sydney Star Observer a more diverse police force would be better equipped to deal with crime prevention.
“We’re very focused on trying to reduce crime, increase public safety, reduce the road toll, I think this will help because it’s about building trust with the community,” he said.
“It’s about improving cultural awareness and understanding, breaking down language barriers, so obviously the more representative we are, I think the greater our ability to do those things and we’d all expect that to flow onto better outcomes for the entire community.”
The $6 million recruitment campaign is looking to attract 1700 new officers over the next five years and has targeted people with culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
From this week the Victoria Police Academy will increase its recruitment intake to fortnightly rather than monthly and fast-track some of the recruitment process waiting time.
Despite a difficult past, the Victorian GLBTI community and Victoria Police have enjoyed a relatively harmonious relationship over the last decade since the appointment of the first full-time Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officer in 2000, with former police chief commissioner Christine Nixon and Overland marching in Victoria’s annual Pride March.
Overland urged those GLBT people who may have encountered homophobia or have had bad experiences with police in the past to be open minded.
“If they have had that experience I’d ask them not to judge us on the basis of that experience, we’re not perfect but we certainly aspire to be a very open and tolerant organisation and I think you’ll find the vast majority of people are open and tolerant,” he said.
“If someone has had a bad experience, please don’t judge us on that, come and find out more about the organisation, find out about the opportunities we are offering, come and meet some of our liaison officers, some of our people involved in recruiting and then make a judgment on the basis of more information.
“Don’t exclude us on the basis of one bad experience.”
info: Those interested in finding out more about entrance requirements or the application process should visit www.policecareer.vic.gov.au or SMS “Ready” to 132 001.