POLICE are set to bring back an emergency service reporting mechanism of last century with the trial of a new police assistance line which aims to take some pressure off the 000 emergency number.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Victorians used to ring a series of numbers relating to the type of emergency - 11440 (Ambulance), 11441 (Fire) and 11444 (Police). By 2002, Telstra had decommissioned the numbers which at that stage still represented 40 per cent of the calls answered by the emergency services board.
Victoria Police said the purpose of the new trial was a way for the public to better engage with police on local matters such as burglary, theft, property damage and more. Police Minister Lisa Neville said the service will provide a significant improvement in task allocation and responses from Victoria Police.
"This will be a significant improvement in the way Victorians can access police and get the services that they need," she said.
The trial will begin in Ballarat, Hume and Brimbank on February 28 and will see calls to 000 transferred to the police assistance line
"Both through 000 and through the local police stations, (police) will triage calls and where appropriate refer to the call centre here and enable our systems to improve and ensure that we're getting the right message to the community locally."
Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said the project had been a long time in the making.
"It has been a long project to deliver this, but it does provide now an opportunity that we haven't had before and that is to properly triage calls and be able to assist the community in a more detailed way then we have to date," he said.
"Normally calls will come in and they will be distributed to our divisional van for operational vehicles to respond too, but 30 per cent of those calls do not need to go to those cars for immediate action.
"Now we can have an immediate call and start a conversation about the needs of the people that are ringing us and respond to them in different ways. This will allow police to get onto the matters that are higher priority and are a much greater risk."