Hoon loophole closed

A Mercedes coupe impounded during Operation Achilles police raids.

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

Greater Dandenong Council has unveiled draft local laws giving powers for police to punish spectators at illegal hoon meets.

Under the proposed laws, people can be fined up to $1654 for taking part, encouraging or attending a ‘hoon event’.

Drivers can also be fined the same amount for stopping or parking within 200 metres from the action.

A hoon event includes vehicles losing traction, racing, time-trialling and emitting “undue noise or smoke”.

According to a council report, the clause was introduced because “the Police have indicated that State legislation does not provide them with the tools necessary to manage such events”.

The hoon meets “by very nature can put spectators or bystanders of hoon events at risk

of serious injury or even death”.

Meanwhile, Victoria Police has “disrupted” at least 16 hoon events in Greater Dandenong, Casey and Cardinia since February, as part of its Operation Achilles blitz.

Nine people have been arrested, facing charges such as conduct endangering life, conduct endangering people and drug offences.

A 19-year-old man was charged with 54 offences relating to nine hoon events. Two vehicles were seized by police.

In total, police have seized six cars and one motorbike as well as drugs and weapons during six search warrants.

Southern Metro Region Acting Inspector Dean Grande said hoon behaviour was not harmless.

“It has the potential to result in death or serious injury while our community is sick of the irresponsible behaviour and damage it causes.

“We want to reassure the community that we will continue to disrupt illegal hoon activity as part of Operation Achilles and put offenders before the court.”

Acting Inspector Grande said his message to hoons was “your behaviour will not be tolerated”.

“If you attend an illegal hoon event, we will identify you, we will find you, you will be arrested, charged and your car will be seized.”

City planning director Jody Bosman told a council meeting on 24 May that police would enforce the proposed laws, Mr Bosman said.

The laws are part of a suite of amendments, including a ban on discharging fireworks without a permit.

There are also rules against putting rubbish bins out for collection more than 24 hours early, and parking unregistered trailers or vehicles in a public place.

The draft laws will however create an exemption for the use of a chimenea or fire pit.

Residents will also be allowed to plant vegetation on nature strips.

The draft local laws will go on public exhibition. Submissions close on 7 June.