SENTENCING Advisory Council chairman Arie Freiberg has described mandatory minimum sentences as a ``strategy aimed at winning elections rather than reducing crime''.
At the launch of the council's Assaults on Emergency Service Workers report, Professor Freiberg weighed into the political debate on mandatory sentences.
``I would counsel the public to have a look at the evidence,'' Professor Freiberg said.
``The Victorian Sentencing Advisory Council has looked widely into the evidence and the consequences of mandatory sentences and found that they are counterproductive and ineffective.''
The report recommended no mandatory minimum sentences for assaults on police or public officers but recommended raising the maximum penalty for assaults on police to three years and assaults on public officers and emergency workers to two years.
Police Association president Pat Allen welcomed the increase in maximum penalties but vowed to continue the campaign for mandatory minimum sentences.
``The report's coming from people that have never been and don't know what it's like to be assaulted,'' Mr Allen said. ``We need to stop the assaults, and the only effective way to do this is through minimum sentences.''
Liberal police spokeswoman Elise Archer said a clear message needed to be sent.
``Police and emergency services workers are the front line when it comes to dealing with public safety, and we need to send a clear message that assaults against them will not be tolerated,'' Ms Archer said.
Mr Allen and Ms Archer pointed to claims that assaults on WA police dropped when mandatory sentencing was introduced. However, the Sentencing Advisory Council suggests the phasing out of single officer patrols could have also contributed to this decline.