Hodgman Govt To Amend Youth Justice Act 1997

Hodgman Govt To Amend Youth Justice Act 1997

Tasmania Minister for Police Fire and Emergency Management Rene Hidding

Evade Police Laws To Be Strengthened

Victor P Taffa

Hodgman Government will this week introduce new legislation to crack down on Police evaders, Minister for Police Fire and Emergency Management Rene Hidding said.

“Evading Police has emerged as a significant problem for Tasmania Police and the whole Tasmanian community, and our changes will allow a more common-sense approach in line with community expectations.” Mr. Hidding said.

Importantly, the Bill will amend the Youth Justice Act 1997 to include evading Police as an offence for which a youth may be dealt with as an adult.

“There are far too many young people who are choosing to evade Police, and our changes will send the right message to stamp out this behaviour before it ends in tragic circumstances.”

“This Bill will also amend the Police Powers (Vehicle Interception) Act 2000 to allow Police to arrest anyone who they ‘reasonably believe’ has committed the offence of evading Police.” Mr. Hidding said.

“This means that even if someone successfully evades Police, they can still be arrested at a later stage and have their vehicle clamped or seized.”

Current legislation places a much higher burden of proof on the Police, therefore creating an incentive for people to attempt to evade.

Penalties for drivers who evade Police will be increased, with the penalty applied corresponding to the number of evading Police offences the offender has committed.

A new offence and associated penalties will also be created for evading Police where aggravated circumstances exist. This new offence will apply where there is an increased risk to public safety or the offence is in conjunction with other certain types of offending, which include:

  • Driver having alcohol or an illicit drug present in their breath or blood;
  • Vehicle being driven is stolen;
  • Vehicle is driven recklessly or negligently;
  • Driver has his or her driver licence suspended, cancelled or they were disqualified from driving; or
  • Driver is taking action to avoid Police as a result of committing an Appendix A or B crime under Criminal Code Act 1924, has breached a Police or Family Violence Order or is contravening a bail order.

“Tabling of this Bill is another marker in our commitment to keep the community safe, and will add to reforms already underway such as restoring Police numbers to 1,233 by 2018, phasing out suspended sentences, and introducing minimum mandatory sentences for perpetrators who commit serious sexual offences against children.” Mr. Hidding said.