Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 2 Hansard (18 February) . .
vehicles can frustrate attempts by police officers to deliver the immediate sanction that the government has mandated by refusing to allow police to access their property to seize the vehicle.
This power could only be exercised where the police officer has a reasonable belief the motor vehicle is located on the property. The police officer would be required to enter the property only for as long as necessary to seize the vehicle or alternatively to determine that the vehicle is not present. A police officer may not enter any building on the property, other than a garage, shed or other structure where the police officer suspects on reasonable grounds that the motor vehicle is located.
The bill also increases the penalty for the offence in section 60 of the Road Transport (General) Act 1999 of failing to provide information to a police officer about the driver of the vehicle when that request relates to the investigation of an offence of failing to stop a motor vehicle for police. The maximum penalty in those circumstances will be increased to match the maximum penalty applying to the new offence of failing to stop for a police officer: 100 penalty units, 12 months imprisonment, or both; or, for a repeat offender, 300 penalty units, three years imprisonment, or both.
The change to section 60 will only apply to the offence of failing to stop for police. The penalty for failing to provide information about the driver in relation to other offences will remain unchanged. The offence of failing to provide information to a police officer about the driver of the vehicle when committed in the context of an investigation into a vehicle failing to stop for police will trigger the licence suspension and disqualification provisions in the road transport legislation.
This bill provides a legislative framework, as agreed with the police, that is necessary to reduce the need for pursuits, without compromising police capacity to identify and apprehend motorists who fail to stop for police. In conjunction with the revised police pursuit policy the bill will reduce the number of police pursuits on our roads by providing police with effective alternative powers.
Some may argue that by limiting police pursuits, criminals will take advantage and get away with it. This is simply not the case. The introduction of this legislation, which includes stronger penalties and increased powers for police to identify a person driving a vehicle that evades police, will ensure that offenders will not get away with it. They may not be apprehended immediately. It may be hours or days later but they will be caught. When they are, they will face fines, licence suspension, losing their vehicle and potentially prison.
In conclusion, I emphasise to the Assembly that the approach taken through this bill, and the revised police pursuits policy, is one that seeks to protect lives and ensure police can still arrest offenders. It will go a long way towards achieving our goal of vision zero. I commend the bill to the Assembly.
Debate (on motion by Mr Hanson) adjourned to the next sitting.
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