Petrol thieves who fill up then flee will be the focus of a new campaign to help Victoria Police crackdown on fuel theft, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government.
Minister for Police Lisa Neville today launched the We See You Too campaign, an almost $100,000 investment from the Labor Government, which will be delivered by Crime Stoppers Victoria.
The campaign, developed in partnership with Victoria Police, petrol station operators and industry associations will run over the next four weeks at petrol stations that have high prevalence of fuel theft, in Melbourne’s north and south including Geelong, Wyndham, Werribee, and Hume.
The campaign will see anti-theft messaging on fuel nozzles and digital displays at petrol stations and will run across social and media platforms encouraging the community to report fuel thefts to Crime Stoppers.
It supports the recent change in Victoria Police’s policy in response to fuel theft to now investigate all fuel theft incidents and hold offenders to account, a turnaround from 2013 decision by police to treat fuel thefts as primarily a civil matter to reduce the burden on resources in the context of budget cuts made by the Liberals.
The Labor Government’s record investment in 3,135 additional frontline police officers means Victoria Police now has the resources it needs to crack down on petrol theft.
It’s estimated that fuel theft costs retailers up to $20 million per year, with Victoria Police spending roughly 21,000 hours investigating the crime.
The Labor Government established the Parliamentary Inquiry into Fuel Drive Offs in 2015, to reduce theft and find ways for service station operators to recover their losses.
Victoria Police has already reported a 20 per cent increase in reports of fuel theft since it boosted its response to the issue earlier this year.
This change will see an increase in the number of fuel thefts being investigated and offenders charged, it will assist police in prosecuting repeat and serious offenders involved in other serious crimes like robberies.
Some vehicles involved in petrol thefts have stolen number plates, which is why the Labor Government is delivering a series of number plate theft reduction initiatives as part of a $1.47 million Number Plate Theft Reduction Trial.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Police Lisa Neville
“Our investment in this Crime Stoppers campaign will help Victoria Police crackdown on petrol thieves and sends a strong message to would-be thieves that petrol theft is a crime that will be prosecuted.”
“Our record recruitment drive of 3,135 new police means that Victoria Police now has more resources than ever before to tackle and target crime, including fuel theft.”
“We know that when fuel theft does occur its costly for operators and impacts their livelihood, anyone caught stealing fuel now has a higher chance of being reported to Crime Stoppers and can face up to 10-years in jail.”