Victims of family violence in regional Victoria will be safer under a new program to upgrade police radios, the Minister for Police Wade Noonan said today.

Mr Noonan commended police on their efforts to address family violence at a visit today to Gisborne Police Station with the Member for Macedon, Mary-Anne Thomas.

The Andrews Labor Government’s first Budget includes money to replace out-dated analogue radios in country Victoria with a new secure digital system

The funding announcement responds to long-term concerns that out-dated radios let members of the public listen in on police operations via a smartphone app or scanner, potentially compromising the safety of country police officers and victims of crime.

An encrypted digital communication system would protect the privacy of family violence victims, especially in smaller regional areas, and stop perpetrators listening out for police movements, Ms Thomas said.

Gisborne police officers have worked hard to respond to road safety, property related crime, drugs, violence and family violence.

Family violence offences in the Macedon Ranges area decreased by 13.5 per cent in the twelve months to December 2014.

This includes decreases in family-related offences of stalking, harassment and threatening behaviour.

Gisborne is also a high-risk for bushfires, and police work with several organisations, including emergency management, to help the community recover from fires.

Work on removing the analogue system will begin next month. The digital radios will be phased in from January 2017.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Police, Wade Noonan

“Family violence is the number law and order issue in this state and new encrypted digital radios will help police keep the community safe.’’

“The new secure radio system will prevent unauthorised people from listening to police communications, ensuring the safety of police officers and improving their ability to investigate crime.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Macedon, Mary-Anne Thomas MP

“Officers at the Gisborne Police Station are dedicated to tackling crime in the area and keeping our community safe.”

“I have seen for myself the good work police do on the Macedon Ranges Local Safety Committee. Their work in developing partnerships with local organisations is helping deal the community deal with issues in a collaborative way.”