Victoria Police is overhauling the processing of warrants after 11-year-old Luke Batty was killed on February 12 by his father Greg Anderson, who had five outstanding warrants.
The Victorian government is investing AU$2.5 million in Victoria Police to ensure that all warrants will be sent directly from the prosecutor's office to the police records division and immediately entered into the Law Enforcement Assistance Program (LEAP) database. This will allow officers to view warrants within two to four days, rather than the current two weeks.
Previously, when a warrant to arrest was issued by the courts or a warrant was issued by police, it was sent to a dedicated police officer to execute. That police officer had two weeks to then carry out the warrant, before the information was passed on to Victoria Police's record service division to be entered into the LEAP database, so it was accessible to all police.
This investment will now mean that all police officers will be able to see the warrants within two to four days, because an additional 10 personnel will be made available to help cover the gap in warrant processing.
"We needed some extra people to do that. There's an extra 30,000 warrants we need to handle per year," Victoria Police chief commissioner Ken Lay said.
The new model will apply to arrest warrants issued by courts, as well as "fail to appear" and bail warrants initiated by the police.
Warrants for offenders identified as high risk by prosecutors will be given priority and immediately acted on, police say.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services Kim Wells said the existing system delayed arrest opportunities for police.
"We cannot have a situation where warrants for serious crimes are issued against a person, but most police don't know about them," he said.
But Lay said that even if the warrants against Anderson had been visible to the police, it probably would not have changed the outcome for the boy.
"I am pretty certain that that father would have been bailed as a result of those warrants, and I suspect we would have still seen the tragedy that we saw," Lay told Fairfax Radio on Tuesday.
Anderson was questioned by police on January 27 about several assaults, but there's a two-week lag time for such information to appear on the computer system.
Anderson killed his son after cricket training on February 12, before being shot dead by police.