COR crackdown: 220 more officers on truck beat

<font color=red><b>EXCLUSIVE:</b></font> Victoria puts 220 extra officers on trucking beat, promising tougher enforcement

COR crackdown: 220 more officers on truck beat
Police ramp up Vic enforcement, 220 more officers
By Sam Freestone | September 22, 2009

Victoria Police will put another 220 officers on the trucking beat next year, ramping up its enforcement of heavy vehicles and hunting chain of responsibility crimes.

Officers from newly-named Operational Response Department will be specially trained in public order, crime, road safety law and the compliance and enforcement laws.

The 220 extra officers will come from the public order department in March, joining 60 road taskforce police and 60 traffic officers as police try and arrest climbing road fatalities.

Heavy vehicle fatalities will increase this year compared to last year, something Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Ken Lay is determined to tackle.

Enforcement of heavy vehicle compliance will be the fiercest it has ever been, he says.

Lay heads up the enforcement unit, which is an expansion of the already operational Heavy Vehicle Taskforce.

Lay says it is "another tool" to try and lower accident rates.

The roadside officers will receive on-the-job training and specific instruction to "raise their level of expertise" regarding chain of responsibility laws, Lay says. A pool of engine readers will also be developed and made available to the team.

Funds will be pooled across police departments to train the roadside officers.

"At the moment Victoria Police is looking at taking some more resources centrally to focus on a few issues centrally. One of those is heavy vehicles," Lay tells ATN.

Police plan to have the new Operational Response Department fully functioning within the next 12 months.

"We work around intelligence and people [in the general public] tell us things, and people tell us who we should target. That was how we initially came to target the livestock issue," Lay explains.

Although Lay recognises a "really good result" from within industry ranks to combat safety and compliance, he says more needs to be done.

"When numbers are lower they tend to be volatile," he admits. "But it is a long-term trend. We are not seeing the improvements that we enjoy in other areas.

"The problem is that road trauma has been up and down across the last couple of years. We don’t have the same downward trend we are seeing in other areas.

"If owners and the like aren’t doing the right thing then we need to hold them to account."

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