Victoria Police and the retail fuel industry will work closely to prevent petrol drive-offs in response to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Fuel Drive-Offs.
Victorian Minister for Police Lisa Neville said the inquiry tabled in Parliament examined strategies to prevent motorists from intentionally filling up and fleeing.
In May 2015, the Victorian Government asked the Law Reform, Road and Community Safety Committee to investigate the issue of people driving off without paying for fuel.
The Committee considered 30 submissions, including submissions from Victorian and Federal Police, the retail fuel industry and Crime Stoppers Victoria before providing a comprehensive report with eight recommendations, earlier in 2016.
The Victorian Government supports all relevant recommendations in full or in principle. The Committee’s key recommendations included:
- The development of a Victoria Police crime prevention guide for industry on fuel drive-offs
- Forums conducted by police with the fuel retail industry to discuss fuel drive-offs and strategies to deal with them
- Victoria Police to provide officers with clear advice on how to investigate and prosecute fuel drive-offs where there is evidence of criminal conduct.
The Committee confirmed that police have the necessary powers to tackle the issue – and where there is evidence of criminal conduct – petrol thieves will face the full force of the law.
Victoria Police has already started work to provide greater clarity to its officers to ensure a consistent approach when they respond to fuel drive-offs.
They have also held forums with the industry to share information, advice and strategies on preventing fuel drive-offs.
There are more than 1,400 petrol convenience stores in Victoria, with more than 70 per cent independently-owned small to medium businesses.