Hume council is calling for police to be given greater power to deal with hoon drivers, as it prepares to review its own local laws in a bid to crackdown on hoon behaviour.
Councillor Jack Medcraft last week asked the council to write to Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes and acting Police Minister Danny Pearson to request changes to police powers, in response to growing community concerns about hoon activity in Hume.
The council is also preparing to review it’s General Local Law No.1, which governs the safety of the municipality, and will investigate whether changes to the law can be used to support police in relation to hooning.
As reported by Star Weekly, hoon drivers have been targeting the city’s sports reserves, prompting clubs to raise concerns about the safety of their junior players.
New Victoria Police data revealed Hume as the state’s hoon capital, with 4865 vehicles impounded between 2011 and 2020, including 894 in 2020.
Whittlesea had a total of 1997 impounds from 2011-20, with 353 vehicles impounded last year.
Hume’s total was 6.8 per cent of the total impounds across the state.
Cr Naim Kurt told Star Weekly hooning in the municipality is a serious problem.
“Police have spoken directly to councillors, seeking council adopts stronger by-laws so that those who spectate and help organise hoon events can be fined.
“Since the lockdown, the issue has exploded with more sophisticated meetups, involving removal trucks, spotters and warning systems to avoid detection by authorities.”
Cr Kurt said the recent hooning on the site at Craigieburn Anzac Park just days before Anzac Day had heavily impacted the community.
“It’s barbaric to have a park which bears the name of our diggers desecrated in such a manner by these vandals, right in the lead up to Anzac Day,” he said.
“I know many veterans have been left feeling hurt by this.
“This is a sacred war memorial, which deserves to be respected.”
Cr Kurt said Brimbank council laws, which allow police to issue a fine of up to $800 to anyone caught conducting or spectating at hoon events, don’t go far enough.
“The Brimbank laws have been a great success, but the problem is it has just allowed these louts to fan out into neighbouring councils like ours,” he said.
Mayor Joseph Haweil said council was disappointed by the behaviour of hoon drivers.
“Not only has the selfish actions of a few caused extensive damage and significant cost to ratepayers, but it’s insulting to local residents and the wider community,” Cr Haweil said.
“Council is investigating the installation of CCTV, gates, fencing and security at sporting, recreational and other community assets to deter criminal activity, and is working closely with Victoria Police to implement a Safety and Security Plan.”