Hoon hotline targets driving offences

Article image - Hoon hotline targets driving offences

The City of Brimbank, located in western Melbourne, has set up a hoon hotline to assist local residents report reckless driving. Established in April 2005, 67 offenders have already been identified, with 35 of these prosecuted for driving offences. Community safety forums, focus groups and resident surveys had indicated that residents were concerned about speeding and reckless driving in local streets and car parks and about anti social behaviour.

“We wanted to assist the police in discouraging reckless driving and other anti social behaviour in our local streets,” said Brimbank CEO, Marilyn Duncan. “Becoming a partner in the Hoon Line Program was an excellent way to achieve this.

“The idea was to create a hotline that would give residents a sense of control over inappropriate behaviour on the streets and increase their sense of safety. The excellent response shows that our community has embraced this new service.”

The project has the full support of the police, ensuring that follow up action is taken whenever possible.

By mid November, 366 calls had been received from Brimbank residents. Sixty-five per cent of calls reported burnouts and reckless driving, 18 per cent reported excessive speed and 12 per cent concerned motorbikes off road. The remainder of calls reported loud music, drug activity and other anti social behaviour.

Council’s role was to fund and establish an electronic reporting system that records the details of specific incidents. This is important in building cases against repeat offenders, and to support the initiative through the use of Council’s Call Centre. The police and Council had also worked together to create an electronic reporting mechanism that is integral to the success of the partnership.

Once data is entered into the system it can be automatically forwarded to the police in a compatible Excel format. Different reports can then be generated to analyse trends emerging from the information, such as frequent days of occurrence, time of day, hot spot locations, and repeat offenders.

According to Brimbank Traffic Management Unit’s Sergeant Rod Stein, prior to the Hoon Line, police had been limited in identifying and prosecuting hoon offenders, unless they were present when the offences occurred.

“Brimbank’s Hoon Line allows police to readily identify offenders and vehicles, target recidivist offenders, send warning letters to the registered owner of vehicles, prosecute offenders in court, or recommend that offenders attend a driver education program such as the Road Trauma Support Group Young Driver Workshops, using the Court Diversion Program,” he said.

For further information contact the City of Brimbank on (03) 9249 4000.