Zero tolerance approach to all crimes
The Liberal Nationals will crack down on fuel theft if it wins government in 2018, according to Gippsland East MP, Tim Bull.
Mr Bull said a strong message of zero tolerance on crime was needed in Victoria, with the current policy of treating fuel drive-offs as a civil, rather than criminal matter, clearly not working.
“Fuel retailers have reported an increase in drive-offs and they can often be associated with attacks on retail staff and theft of other retail products, putting employees, customers and business owners personal risk,” Mr Bull said.
By July 1, 2019, a Liberal-Nationals Coalition will:
• Work with Victoria Police so all fuel drive-offs will be treated as criminal theft offences and not as civil matters;
• Establish a ‘zero-tolerance’ investigatory and enforcement regime. The treatment of fuel drive-offs as civil matters has absolutely no deterrent effect on would-be or recidivist offenders. Allowing fuel drive-off offenders to get away with theft can lead to an escalation in the seriousness of offender behaviour;
• Develop and introduce a Victoria Police centrally-administered fuel drive-off/theft online reporting system, ensuring an improved assessment and investigatory process for alleged offences, as reported by fuel retailers, modelled on the fuel drive-offs central reporting process introduced by NSW Police in 2013;
• Introduce a new specific Victoria offence code, to the Crimes Act 1958 offence of theft, detailing ‘fuel drive-off’, by Victoria Police in consultation with the Crime Statistics Agency, which will improve data integrity and investigatory efforts in identifying offenders and patterns of offence behaviour;
• Establish an improved information sharing interface system or virtual ‘stolen plate clearing house’ between Victoria Police and VicRoads to quickly identify stolen numberplates in a more timely and efficient manner thereby leading to earlier detection of offending plates and assist in mitigating fuel drive-off offences;
• Work with industry to continue to implement improved security and video surveillance measures, including technology for the recognition of stolen plates, unregistered and stolen vehicles, to assist retailers in mitigating offending in the first instance as well as improving investigatory outcomes in the identification of offenders and proving criminal intent; and
• Establish a taskforce to oversee the implementation and ongoing effectiveness of these reforms, co-chaired by the Police Minister and the Small Business Minister and to include the Chief Commissioner or their representative, the Australasian Association of Convenience Stores and other representatives of industry as required.
“Across Australia, fuel theft costs retailers $60 million per annum, so the sector is crying out for these reforms,” Mr Bull said.
Wednesday, August 2, 2017