Victoria Police will use automatic number plate recognition cameras – fitted to the roof of the latest highway patrol cars – to detect vehicles from postcodes in COVID-19 lockdown.
The technology – normally used to detect unregistered vehicles, unlicensed drivers, and cars likely to be driven by wanted persons – is also able to spot vehicles that have left their area.
According to a report in The Age, Victoria’s Police Commissioner, Shane Patton, warned residents of suburbs in lockdown found flouting current lockdown regulations would be fined.
"We'll be using automatic number plate recognition technology," said Commissioner Patton. "As the operation progresses, we'll be looking at how we can utilise other resources from within the organisation, including potentially the use of drones in those public spaces.
"We will be fining people. There is no doubt about that. I want to be absolutely crystal clear. For those who are selfish enough to disregard these warnings... the window of police discretion is a very small window at the moment I can assure you, and it's rapidly closing."
The move comes on top of a surge in residents from COVID-19 hotspots attempting to change the residential address on their drivers’ licence in order to circumvent police checks and avoid lockdown.
Victorian laws allow for changes to be made to drivers’ licences online with no proof of address required.
“As soon as we were made aware of this issue we immediately put in place measures to ensure any changes of address in priority postcodes were for genuine reasons,” a spokesperson for VicRoads said.
“We are reviewing all changes to licence holders’ addresses from priority postcodes since the Premier’s restrictions announcement on Tuesday to ensure anyone who changed their address did so because it was necessary.”
VicRoads has stated it will contact those in hotspots who have made changes to provide evidence of those changes.
It is an offence to provide false information. Those caught breaking the law face fines of up to $825.
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