Hoons face crack­down

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - BET­TINA WAR­BUR­TON bet­tina. war­bur­ton@ news. com. au

IF YOU’RE a hoon, you’ll be caught.

That’s the mes­sage from the Queens­land Po­lice Ser­vice as North­ern Re­gion statis­tics re­veal about 40 ve­hi­cles are im­pounded, im­mo­bilised or be­come el­i­gi­ble for for­fei­ture each week.

In the last fi­nan­cial year there have been 1105 im­pound­ments for hooning of­fences in the North­ern Re­gion and 10,113 for of­fences such as high- end speed­ing, high- range drink- driv­ing, un­reg­is­tered and unin­sured driv­ing.

Type 1 of­fences in­clude dan­ger­ous driv­ing, rac­ing/ speed tri­als on a road, wil­fully mak­ing un­nec­es­sary noise or smoke and evad­ing po­lice.

Townsville Act­ing In­spec­tor Dar­ren Ran­dall said po­lice made no apolo­gies for a tough stance on hoons.

“Po­lice won’t hes­i­tate to im­pound or im­mo­bilise or seek a for­fei­ture no­tice on a ve­hi­cle,” he said. “We make no apol­ogy for that. That is our com­mit­ment to road safety.

“Road users need to know they are driv­ing safely and not be sub­jected to the few who are caus­ing trou­ble.”

Po­lice data re­veal that in 2015- 16, 2086 ve­hi­cles in the North­ern Re­gion were im­pounded, im­mo­bilised or el­i­gi­ble for for­fei­ture, an in­crease on the pre­vi­ous year’s fig­ure of 1751.

“Hav­ing your ve­hi­cle im­pounded or el­i­gi­ble for for­fei­ture should be a de­ter­rent but it doesn’t ap­pear to be,” Insp Ran­dall said.

“There has been an in­crease in the num­ber of ve­hi­cles im­pounded or el­i­gi­ble for for­fei­ture and that’s a con­cern.”

Amend­ments to the Po­lice Pow­ers and Re­spon­si­bil­i­ties Act 2000 in 2013 mean po­lice now have more power to im­pound, con­fis­cate or im­mo­bilise ve­hi­cles that have been in­volved in a hooning of­fence.

Pre­vi­ously, a Type 1 of­fence would usu­ally re­sult in an im­pound­ment of two days, but un­der the re­cent changes, a first- time of­fender may have a ve­hi­cle im­pounded or im­mo­bilised for 90 days.

Insp Ran­dall said it was im­por­tant to note any sub­se­quent Type 1 of­fence would re­sult in the in­def­i­nite for­fei­ture of a ve­hi­cle, pend­ing the re­sult of any court pro­ceed­ings.

“If you’re found guilty of a Type 1 of­fence on two or more oc­ca­sions, then your car will be for­feited per- ma­nently and will be­come the prop­erty of the state,” he said.

“And po­lice will con­tinue to show peo­ple who of­fend that there is a real con­se­quence to such be­hav­iour.”

Po­lice Min­is­ter Mark Ryan said the Palaszczuk Gov­ern­ment was de­ter­mined to keep all Queens­lan­ders safe and this in­cluded our road users.

“Road users need to take ac­count­abil­ity for their ac­tions on the road and if they break the law they’ll pay the price,” he said.

“As Po­lice Min­is­ter, I sup­port the hard work of our po­lice and their tire­less ef­forts to keep peo­ple safe be­hind the wheel.” TOWNSVILLE C City Coun­cil and po­lice are ramp­ing up the fight against aban­doned cars.

Com­mu­nity Safety Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee chair­man Cr Russ Cook said he would meet po­lice this week to fi­nalise an agree­ment on how to best ad­dress the prob­lem.

“We’re get­ting far too many in­stances where ve­hi­cles are left aban­doned for too long,” he said. “We need a sys­tem in place that po­lice and coun­cil are on the same page when it comes to re­mov­ing the un­sightly prob­lem of aban­doned ve­hi­cles.”

From Jan­uary to June, 434 aban­doned ve­hi­cles were re­ported to the coun­cil. The coun­cil needed to tow 115 of those ve­hi­cles.

Cr Cook, a for­mer po­lice­man, said the coun­cil would work with po­lice to en­sure aban­doned ve­hi­cles were re­moved quickly.

“We want to re­move th­ese eye­sores from our streets as soon as pos­si­ble and when we nut out the new stan­dard op­er­at­ing pro­ce­dure with QPS, that’ll hap­pen more ef­fec­tively,” he said. “The new agree­ment will hope­fully mean that the coun­cil is alerted straight away that a ve­hi­cle is aban­doned and we can act on that straight away.”

Townsville Crime Pre­ven­tion Unit Sergeant Julie Cooke said po­lice were reg­u­larly con­tacted to at­tend stolen or crashed ve­hi­cles that had been left aban­doned.

She said po­lice had lim­ited pow­ers to re­move the ve­hi­cles un­less they were a haz­ard and could only is­sue in­fringe­ment no­tices if a car was parked il­le­gally.

TOO MANY: Cr Russ Cook is lead­ing the coun­cil’s fight on aban­doned cars. Pic­ture: WES­LEY MONTS

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