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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Govt takes aim at emergency vehicle ramming

The Queensland Government has announced its plan to make the ramming of an emergency vehicle a stand alone offence.

A new law will be introduced to parliament next week, making the ramming of emergency services vehicles its own criminal offence, with a penalty of up to 14 years imprisonment.

In addition, a person who causes wilful damage to an emergency vehicle will now face up to 7 years imprisonment.

“Disgracefully, Queensland’s hardworking police have been victim to about 60 ramming incidents this year,” said Premier Steven Miles.

“These are our first responders, our life savers, and they have subject to violent attacks in the line of duty.

“Now, my government will introduce new laws into the parliament to make the ramming of an emergency vehicle a standalone offence.

“That means offenders held to account through tougher laws enacted as part of our targeted community safety plan,” he said.

The proposed legislation would see any person who uses a motor vehicle to cause damage to police or ambulance vehicles or fire appliances face an additional charge for that action on top of other relevant associated offences such as dangerous operation of a motor vehicle.

“Anyone ramming an emergency vehicle and putting our emergency services personnel lives on the line, deserves to face the consequences,” said Police Minister, Mark Ryan.

“Our incredible emergency services are on the frontline day and night facing volatile situations to protect the public.

“This law will ensure those who recklessly and intentionally use a motor vehicle as a weapon and ram an emergency vehicle, will be held accountable before court.”

Over recent months there have been a significant number of ramming incidents targeting police vehicles. Of those incidents, two resulted in a police officer being admitted to hospital and eight required medical or first aid treatment for injuries sustained from the crash.

“To target emergency services by ramming is deplorable behaviour that not only risks the lives of our frontline but innocent members of the public as well,” said Queensland Police Commissioner, Steve Gollschewski.

“We see this behaviour all too often, and while our officers are tactically trained to respond, a motor vehicle can cause serious harm to anyone in its path.

“Queensland Police Service welcomes the proposed new law holding reckless drivers to account.”

Queensland Police Union President, Ian Leavers said the new legislation was something the Union had advocated for to protect police and other first responders.

“While it won’t directly form a barrier to shield police, paramedics and firefighters it will hold those to account who threaten the lives of those who are working to assist the community,” he said.

“The Premier and Police Minister have listened to frontline police and have done something positive to make this type of dangerous and reckless behaviour a special offence. Using a vehicle as a weapon is disgraceful and the potential for life changing injuries is extreme.

“I encourage all sides of politics to support this legislation in a bipartisan way and enact this law as soon as possible.”

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