Australian state to recruit 2000 extra police in response to youth crime wave

MELBOURNE, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- The police force of Australia's Victoria state will be boosted by more than 2000 new recruits to cope with the state's rising youth crime epidemic.

The rise of car jackings and burglaries by violent street gangs such as the Apex gang in suburban Melbourne has significantly intensified the pressure on the state's government, led by Premier Daniel Andrews, to tackle the law-and-order challenge.

The commitment, which represents an unprecedented 20 percent increase in the police force, will cost the state an estimated 750 million U.S. dollars.

Despite the soaring crime rate across most of Melbourne many police districts have had police officers taken away from the front line.

An analysis by Fairfax Media revealed that three quarters of Melbourne police districts have fewer uniformed officers than 15 months ago while the crime rate in some of those suburbs rose by more than 10 percent.

Worst hit by police cuts was Melbourne's northwest suburbs where most suburbs lost more than 10 percent of their police officers.

In addition to recruiting more police the government has also committed to introducing a crime-reporting website and hotline to reduce the strain on officers.

Despite the commitment to law enforcement, opposition police spokesman Ed O'Donohue said the government was just falling further behind as Victoria's population grows.

"Since Daniel Andrews became premier, Victoria's population has grown by more than 200,000 people, so this announcement is playing catch-up for the cuts to frontline police under the Labor government and population growth," O'Donohue told News Limited on Friday.

"Having allowed frontline police numbers to fall in the last two years as well as reducing the operational hours of suburban police stations, Daniel Andrews is trying to repair a problem he created."

[ Editor: meng ]


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