Common-sense must prevail during COVID-19 lockdown

One of Victoria’s most senior Police Officers has called out the inconsistent enforcement of lockdown laws in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton has stated that the inconsistency and lack of discretion in the application of lockdown laws are undermining community confidence in Victoria Police and that he will now personally review every fine issued.

Deputy Commissioner Patton’s warning comes as a number of Victorians have been unfairly fined or warned by Victoria Police for breaching isolation rules, including:

  • a jogger being told by Victoria Police that “driving to exercise is not permitted” after driving to a local park
  • a Traralgon couple fined over $3,000 for unnecessary travel after posting photos online from June 2019 holiday to Lakes Entrance
  • a 17-year-old Hampton East student fined for unnecessary travel whilst undertaking a driving lesson with her mother – despite NSW classifying driving lessons as allowable activity
  • a Bonbeach man fined for travelling alone in his car driving to a mountain bike trail for exercise
  • a man warned for paddleboarding in water off Elwood beach.

Victorians want to do the right thing during the COVID-19 outbreak, yet the inconsistent messaging and enforcement of social distancing rules have left the community confused and increasingly frustrated.

Daniel Andrews must ensure the extraordinary social distancing rules being asked of Victorians make sense and are being fairly applied so that everyone can play their role in keeping the community safe.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Police, David Southwick:

“The Victorian Government must provide clarity, not create confusion on what behaviour is acceptable and ensure common sense is applied to social distancing enforcement.

“Heavy-handed enforcement of social distancing rules isn’t a fair way to treat Victorians who are trying hard to do the right thing.”

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