Tough new laws to protect our dedicated police and emergency service workers from harm and violence and crack down on offenders who use their cars as a weapon come into effect this week.
Minister for Police Lisa Neville today joined Victoria Police and The Police Association to launch the legislation, which will see offenders who put police and emergency service workers at risk facing up to 20 years behind bars.
The strong new laws, which commence on Thursday, were passed in Parliament last year and developed in close consultation with Victoria Police and The Police Association.
The legislation creates a range of new offences, including:
- Intentionally exposing an emergency worker, a custodial officer or a youth justice worker to risk by driving (20 years’ maximum imprisonment)
- Recklessly exposing an emergency worker, a custodial officer or a youth justice worker to risk by driving (10 years’ maximum imprisonment)
- Damaging an emergency service vehicle (five years’ maximum imprisonment)
- Aggravated offences of intentionally or recklessly exposing an emergency worker to risk by driving (20 and 10 years’ maximum imprisonment respectively).
A statutory two-year minimum jail term will be imposed if an on-duty police officer or emergency worker is injured by an offender who has intentionally exposed the worker to risk by driving.
Under the aggravated offences, offenders cannot be sentenced to a community correction order or other community-based order unless there are special circumstances.
There is also a presumption against bail for the new offences, putting the onus on alleged offenders to show compelling reasons as to why they should be let back out onto our streets.
Those found guilty of the above offences will have their licences cancelled and be disqualified from driving, and their vehicles can also be impounded or seized.
The Labor Government is working with Victoria Police, the Department of Justice and Regulation and The Police Association to develop further reforms to address threats and acts of harm and violence against police.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Police Lisa Neville
“Any form of violence towards police or emergency service workers in the line of duty is abhorrent and our tough new laws send a clear message that it will not be tolerated.”
“Our police and emergency workers put their lives on the line to help keep Victorians safe and well – they deserve to be safe at work just like everyone else.”
“Anyone who uses their vehicle as a weapon against our police officers deserves to feel the full force of the law – and that’s exactly what these new laws will deliver.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020