Enough is enough: Time to get tough on police car rammers

Today’s disturbing incident overnight where a police divisional van was rammed 12 times in Melton highlights the reason why The Police Association has for many months, been calling on both sides of politics to introduce legislation that would see offenders who ram police vehicles forced to serve time in jail.

While the two members involved in this morning’s incident were fortunate to escape physical injury, our members have had enough of being used as battering rams and it’s time for offenders who commit such a serious crime to face consequences to match.

We therefore welcome today’s announcement by the Victorian Opposition that it will introduce a private member’s bill that would see offenders who ram police vehicles forced to serve time in jail.

Make no mistake, the ramming of police vehicles is one of the most serious health and safety issues facing our members. We’re seeing this extremely dangerous conduct happening at least twice a week now.

It’s nothing short of a miracle that no police officer has yet been seriously injured or killed on the 221 occasions where a police vehicle has been rammed in the past two years, but it’s only a matter of time before one of our members becomes a statistic unless something is done about this now. Action on this matter simply can’t wait.

Ramming of police vehicles was extremely rare in the past. Now they’re happening all too frequently. There have been 117 such incidents during the current financial year, off the back of 103 incidents the year before.

Unfortunately, this alarming trend is likely to continue unabated unless there’s a circuit-breaker.

Such a circuit-breaker can only about from legislation that deems the ramming a police vehicle as a specific offence carrying significant punishment in order to create a strong deterrent to help keep our members safe.

Attacks like this are attacks on the community, not just for our members unlucky enough to be sitting inside a police car when an angry or drug affected person decides to act recklessly.

It's time that a punitive price was put on the lives and safety of our members when it comes to rammings.

Wayne Gatt