Victoria Police will today commence internal recruitment for 42 new Youth Specialist Officers (YSOs) to address serious youth offending and reduce community harm.
The YSOs are a new sworn position within Victoria Police and were established following a commitment in the Victorian Government’s Community Safety Statement 2017.
Priority Communities Division Commander Stuart Bateson said the new positions would focus on the state’s most serious youth offenders to reduce community harm and hold offenders to account.
“While we know the overall number of young offenders is declining, we recognise there are still a small number of young people committing serious crimes in our community,” Bateson said.
“The YSOs will be responsible for providing a targeted and coordinated response to young people who commit high-impact crimes such as aggravated burglaries and carjackings.
“They will complement the existing role of the Youth Resource Officers (YROs) – proactive police members that focus on early intervention and prevention.
“The YSOs will develop evidence-based approaches to inform how police respond to high-impact youth offending. They’ll serve as subject-matter experts and work with police across the regions to adapt and respond to changing patterns of offending.”
The new sworn officers will be rolled out across the state, with the first eight officers to be deployed across the North West Metro region from July.
Deployment is expected to be completed by the end of the 2018 as per the following regional breakdown:
• Eastern region: 10
• Western region: 10
• Southern Metro region: 9
• North-West Metro region: 13
The YSOs will work closely with other government services including the Department of Health and Human Services, courts, and youth service organisations to support the identification of young people at-risk of engaging in serious offending.