New laws were introduced last week to protect police and emergency service workers from harm and violence.
Police Minister Lisa Neville joined Victoria Police and The Police Association on Wednesday, April 4, to launch the legislation, which will see offenders who use their cars as a weapon at risk of facing up to 20 years behind bars.
‘‘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,’’ Ms Neville said.
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); and
■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.
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.