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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Night vision cameras to capture hoons

Queensland Police are set to launch a crackdown on hoons, revealing new high-tech cameras and an expanded fleet of drones.

Police Minister, Mark Ryan said the new technology would include night vision capable cameras that can be deployed covertly, operated by an officer, or deployed on a drone.

Mr Ryan said new cameras would be especially valuable when targeting mass gatherings.

“These changes will provide police with enhanced flexibility when dealing with gatherings of hoons,” he said.

“For example, if dozens of cars were hooning in a particular location, police would be able to use these new hi-tech cameras to capture images of all the vehicles.

“The high-resolution images would allow police to identify each vehicle, and then proceed to take action against the registered owner, unless the owner could demonstrate they weren’t driving at the time.

Mr Ryan said the Queensland government was also looking to expand existing dangerous driving laws which would shift the onus of proof onto the vehicle owner.

“This means if the owner claims they weren’t driving the vehicle at the time of the offence, it will be up to them to prove it.”

He said placing the onus of proof on vehicle owners would allow police to take greater advantage of the hooning footage captured by CCTV cameras.

“The expanded laws would apply to a greater range of traffic offences caught on camera.”

“An offender would no longer be able to avoid prosecution by simply masking their identities and denying they had been behind the wheel.

“There’s no apology for targeting these reckless drivers. 

“They are purely and simply idiots – who are doing the wrong thing and risking the lives of others,” Minister Ryan said.

He acknowledged the advocacy of Queensland Police Union General President Ian Leavers, who had made strong representations to government for specific changes to the law to target hoons.

“This is something we have been calling for,” said Mr Leavers.

“We at the Queensland Police Union are always reviewing legislation to ensure we have the most workable laws that can assist frontline policing and we are always recommending enhancements to the government.

“The winners with this will not just be police who will no longer have to prove who is driving a vehicle, it is also the public as this change will make police more efficient and will lead towards building a safer Queensland,” Mr Leavers said.

Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said the Queensland Police Service welcomed any strategy that would help address hooning behaviour.

“Hooning is not only anti-social in its impacts on the community, but potentially life-endangering for the hoons and innocent road users,” she said.

“The community rightly expects hooning behaviour to be addressed and the QPS remains committed to targeting hoons and other unsafe driving behaviours.”

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