The police union and opposition have questioned Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay's plan to restructure the force's crime-fighting system.
A radical overhaul that would reduce the number of frontline police in favour of specialist crime taskforces will prepare Victoria Police for the challenges of the next decade, the state's police chief says.
But the police union and Victorian opposition have questioned whether Chief Commissioner Ken Lay's plans will properly equip the force to fight crime.
Mr Lay says the Victoria Police blue paper examines the need to reduce the number of police on the beat and increasingly use specially assembled taskforces as a major crime-fighting tool.
"At its heart is the need for police to modernise. We need to build greater flexibility into the way we deploy our resources," Mr Lay said in a statement on Tuesday.
"Challenges such as organised crime, family violence and the destructive prevalence of ice in the community are not going to be solved by putting all our resources into police stations and uniformed patrols."
Mr Lay said the blue paper was almost finished, with further details to be released in the next few weeks.
Fairfax on Tuesday reported Mr Lay used a recent Rotary Club function in Wangaratta to "road test" parts of the blue paper, saying Wangaratta residents could expect to see 30 officers instead of the present 60, with taskforces including lawyers, chemists and financial analysts tackling crime.
The Police Association secretary Detective Senior Sergeant Ron Iddles said while he had yet to read the blue paper, he insisted more frontline officers would be needed to meet population increases.
"We need probably anywhere between 1500 and 2000 additional frontline police in the next term of government," he said.
The union last week held a protest in Geelong about the shrinking number of frontline officers in the city's stations.
Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews said the plan would break the government's 2010 election commitment for 1700 new frontline officers.
"The back office is not the front line, and every Victorian has a right to expect that Denis Napthine will deliver on his commitment, and these police will not be squirrelled away in some office," he said.
Police Minister Kim Wells said Mr Lay was responsible for operational decisions but the 1700 new officers would fight crime.
"If you put on 1700 extra police, there are more police out there fighting crime," he told reporters.
Mr Wells backed the creation of more task forces targeting crimes such as family violence and organised crime, but disputed that this would result in fewer frontline police.
"When people say there's going to be less police out on the frontline, that's completely and utterly wrong," he said.
"This is about putting more police out on the frontline dealing with crimes such as family violence."