04th October 2023 12:15
Victorian Legislative Council, Melbourne
Rachel PAYNE (South-Eastern Metropolitan) (12:12): (283) My question is for the Minister for Police, represented by Minister Erdogan. I have received alarming reports of drug detection dogs being used by police randomly on members of the public at Croydon station, Oakleigh station and Frankston station over this past month. Not only does this kind of police work contribute to the over-criminalisation of medicinal cannabis patients, it also stifles their right to freedom of movement via accessible, safe and reliable public transport. Medicinal cannabis patients already fear driving, and now they will fear police scrutiny when accessing our public transport system. My question is: how are police ensuring that operations like these do not unfairly interfere with medicinal cannabis patients’ right not to be criminalised?
Enver ERDOGAN (Northern Metropolitan – Minister for Corrections, Minister for Youth Justice, Minister for Victim Support) (12:13): I thank Ms Payne for her question and her interest in this matter. In line with the standing orders, I will take that question on notice and get a written response from the police minister in the other place.
Rachel PAYNE (South-Eastern Metropolitan) (12:13): I thank the minister for the referral. By way of supplementary, I ask the minister: what training do police receive on medicinal cannabis to guide them for interactions with patients during these operations?
Enver ERDOGAN (Northern Metropolitan – Minister for Corrections, Minister for Youth Justice, Minister for Victim Support) (12:13): I thank Ms Payne for her supplementary question and her further interest in this matter. I will forward that to the Minister for Police in the other place and get a response in accordance with the standing orders.
Received: 6 October 2023
Hon. Enver Erdogan
(Minister for Corrections, Minister for Youth Justice, Minister for Victim Support)
It is the role of Victoria Police to serve the Victorian community and uphold the law to promote a safe, secure, and orderly society as outlined in the Victoria Police Act 2013 and reflected in the Victoria Police Code of Conduct. Victoria Police expects the highest standards from its officers and actively enforces regulations relating to officer behaviour in the Victoria Police Code of Conduct. The oath undertaken by police officers requires them to discharge their duties legally, faithfully, and according to the law.
Interactions with the public are a core part of policing and play an important role in community engagement and safety, relationship building and the detection and prevention of crime. Community contact also provides police the opportunity to better understand the community they serve, promotes public trust in police and provides the community with confidence to engage with police.
In circumstances where members of the public are carrying medicinal cannabis, Victoria Police officers are expected to adhere to the Victoria Police Manual ‘Interactions with the public’ policy, which specifically directs officers to consider a person’s circumstances when interacting with them.
All police officers and Protective Services Officers (PSOs) undergo intensive training at the Victoria Police Academy. Police recruits spend seven months training at the academy followed by further on-the-job training which includes exposure to a number of complex and emerging issues, including the use of medicinal cannabis. PSOs train at the academy for three months and receive further on-the-job training with a police officer.