Tougher laws proposed for motorists who ram police cars after Warrnambool van targeted

THE “alarming trend” of police cars being rammed in Victoria has prompted a call for tougher laws.

The proposal comes a week after the lives of Warrnambool police officers were put at risk when their van was rammed by three offenders.

The vehicle was deliberately struck after passengers hurled tools at the officers.

Warrnambool police Superintendent Graham Banks said while penalties and sentences were a matter for the courts and the government, it was a major concern.

“Police take these things very seriously when members are put in danger,” Superintendent Banks said.

Victoria Police Association secretary Sergeant Wayne Gatt said officers reached out to the union daily about the issue. "It's an alarming trend, it has to be stopped. Every time it occurs it puts the lives of our members in danger."

The opposition has signalled it will introduce a private members’  bill next week calling for mandatory two-year jail terms for offenders who intentionally ram police cars. Shadow police minister Edward O’Donohue said the proposed two-year jail sentences would be enforced regardless of the offenders’ prior convictions. “Our police are under attack like never before and they need better protection from Parliament and the community,” he said.

Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell called for support. “This is a policy that government members and independents should support – it’s about sending a very strong and clear message that it’s not okay to disrespect our hard working police.”