A DRAFT local law may be introduced at Mornington Peninsula Shire Council this year to combat the growing incidences of night-time hoon gatherings.
The move follows an effort by police over the past month to crack down on “illegal and dangerous” hoon meetings and the launch of a state-wide campaign to rein them in.
As part of Operation Achilles, police across the state are working to “disrupt hoon behaviour and put offenders before the courts”.
TV news’ footage over the past few weeks shows scores of hoons in tricked-up cars doing wheelies and burn-outs to the cheers of hundreds of spectators at industrial estates in Carrum Downs and Dandenong.
Business owners are being left to clean up the mess – including shredded tyres, car parts and litter – on tyre-blackened roads next day.
The shire’s proposed new local law will increase its powers to fine hoons once caught.
The shire’s manager of Environment Protection, John Rankine said he was not aware that the peninsula had a “major problem with this sort of behaviour”.
But he said councils in other areas where hoon behaviour is a problem, and where police have had issues with crowds gathering, had “introduced local laws to deal with this safety concern”.
“Our general purposes local law currently has no clause that deals with this type of behaviour,” he said.
“A new draft local law will be produced [this year] and council will seek input from Victoria Police on whether this needs to be included.”
The mayor Cr Despi O’Connor said: “If the police are finding this an issue then we need to help them. If we can get on top of the problem and stop it then that will be good for everyone.”
Somerville Highway Patrol Acting Senior Sergeant Brian Bourke says that Point Leo, Shoreham and Arthurs Seat are occasional hoon hotspots, as are areas off Jetty and Browns roads, Rosebud. He said “the usual trouble makers” came from Rosebud and Rye.
It is believed smart technology, including number plate recognition, will play a major role in tackling hoon behaviour.
Police hope to be able to monitor and identify offenders, and those attending hooning events, and later send them notices to present their cars for roadworthy checks. Those failing to respond will have their registrations suspended.
Anyone with information on hooning can report it to Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report at crimestoppersvic.com.au