Targeting Dangerous Drivers To Improve Community Safety

The safety of all Victorians will be at the forefront of new legislation introduced by the Allan Labor Government, with dangerous drivers to be targeted earlier and stronger safety controls placed on recreational firearms.

Minister for Police Anthony Carbines will today introduce the Justice Legislation Amendment (Police and Other Matters) Bill into the Victorian Parliament which will deliver a suite of reforms to ensure Victoria Police have what they need to keep our community safe.

The Bill introduces new circumstances in which police can deploy vehicle immobilising devices (VIDs) such as road spikes and stop sticks to intervene to prevent and stop dangerous drivers earlier on.

Currently police can only deploy a VID when they are trying to prevent a driver from escaping custody, avoiding arrest and stopping a moving vehicle in limited circumstances.

The new powers will allow police to pre-emptively deploy VIDs where they have reasonable suspicion that a vehicle is a risk to the safety of the driver, a passenger, a police officer or another person.

The Bill also strengthens firearm controls by placing a special condition on Category A or A&B long-arm firearm licences for hunting, sport or target shooting. This will prevent bolt-action shotguns being paired with large capacity detachable magazines which are not necessary for these recreational activities.

To support the National Firearms Amnesty, the Bill will allow licensed firearms dealers to formally receive firearms from unlicensed people – encouraging people to hand them in without fear of being arrested and prosecuted.

Separately the Bill will enhance Victoria Police’s disciplinary system by amending the Victoria Police Act 2013 (VPA) to expressly allow the Chief Commissioner of Police to issue a code of conduct that is binding on all Victoria Police personnel and failure to comply with the Victoria Police Code of Conduct (the Code) is a disciplinary action.

The Code itself will not be written into the VPA, allowing it be a living document which can be updated in response to future community needs and stakeholder feedback without the need for legislative change.

In addition, the Bill will extend the timeframe for when Victoria Police can charge a person for incorrectly accessing, using or disclosing police information inapropriately from 12 months to three years.

This recognises the serious consequences that can flow from the misuse of sensitive police information, including the privacy and safety of members of the public.