This week the Andrews Labor Government in Victoria introduced the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Protection of Emergency Workers and Others) Bill 2017 (the Bill) to the Legislative Assembly. This Bill creates a number of new offences for people who endanger police and emergency service workers. In a recent media release, The Honourable Lisa Neville, Minister for Roads stated:
“Anyone who uses their vehicle as a weapon against our police officers deserves to be locked up – and that’s exactly what these tough new laws will deliver.”
“We have been working closely with Victoria Police and the Police Association to ensure these reforms are informed by experts and are targeted to the real-life scenarios facing police in their line of duty.”
“Emergency service workers spend their lives keeping people safe. These new jail terms send a clear message to those who deliberately harm our frontline workers – this violence and damage will not be tolerated.”
The Bill proposes to amend the Crimes Act 1958, the Sentencing Act 1991, the Bail Act 1977 and the Road Safety Act 1986 to allow for the creation and administration of a number of “new offences relating to the creation of risk to emergency workers on duty, and certain other persons, and damaging emergency service vehicles, by driving”: s 1(a).
Part 2 of the Bill provides the offences relating to emergency workers and other persons. The offences inserted into the Crimes Act include: s 317AC “Intentionally exposing an emergency worker or a custodial officer to risk by driving” with a maximum sentence of 20 years; and s 317AE “Recklessly exposing an emergency worker or a custodial officer to risk by driving” with a maximum sentence of 10 years. Additionally, section 317AG provides for the offence of “damaging an emergency service vehicle” whereby:
(1) A person must not, without lawful excuse, recklessly drive a motor vehicle so that damage is caused to an emergency service vehicle. Penalty: Level 6 imprisonment (5 years maximum).
(2) To be guilty of an offence under subsection (1), the person must know that, or be reckless as to whether, the other vehicle is an emergency service vehicle.
Further amendments proposed by the Bill include:
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Crimes Legislation Amendment (Protection of Emergency Workers and Others) Bill 2017: Bill, Explanatory Memorandum and Second Reading Speech available on Timebase LawOne.
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