The Opposition has renewed its calls for the McGowan Government to introduce a specific criminal offence for deliberately ramming police vehicles.
Shadow Justice Minister Tjorn Sibma said the recent case of Constable Kaine Burgess, who remains unable to return to work following a deliberate ramming of the police vehicle he was driving in January, has highlighted the McGowan Government’s misdirected legislative priorities.
“It is outrageous that the McGowan Government is still refusing to commit to new laws to address the issue of the deliberate ramming of police vehicles,” Mr Sibma said.
“A vehicle is a dangerous weapon, and if it is used to ram police then the intent to do harm to those officers who are trying to protect our community is clear.
“If an offender uses a vehicle to deliberately ram a police car, they should be locked up.”
Mr Sibma said it was incredulous that while Constable Burgess and his family were living with the daily impact of the crime unsure if he would make a full recovery, the government was refusing to even acknowledge the growing problem.
“WA Police officers face a tough job, and they deserve respect and support from the government,” Mr Sibma said.
“Rather than respect from Minister Papalia, they are faced with indifference and inaction. It is unsurprising that WA Police are resigning in record numbers under his watch.”
Mr Sibma said it was disappointing both the Opposition and the police union’s calls for tougher laws to address the growing problem of police vehicles being deliberately rammed had so far been ignored.
“The proposed laws would not be difficult to draft and should be progressed as a matter of priority to provide some greater protection to those who protect us,” Mr Sibma said.
“We need a real deterrent, ensuring that offenders face a penalty that meets community expectations if they engage in this dangerous and reckless behaviour.
“We should not have to wait for a fatality before the Government takes action.”