24 May 2022

Police can't prevent late-night car meetups, but hoons put on notice

| Lottie Twyford
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Skid group

A screenshot from the event organised on social media encouraging people to meet up in locations like Fyshwick and Hume. Photo: Supplied.

WARNING: Footage contains explicit language.

When shops are shut up for the evening and most Canberrans are long gone from industrial suburbs like Fyshwick, Hume and Majura, modified car enthusiasts make use of the large car parks and empty spaces left behind to organise impromptu meetups.

On any given Friday night, between 50 and 100 vehicles gather.

Most events are organised via social media. And most of the time, police are not concerned with people meeting up – as long as no anti-social or hooning behaviour takes place.

Unfortunately, the state of the roads the morning after the meetups would suggest that’s exactly the kind of activity taking place, according to one source who contacted Region Media.

Burn out debris on roads in Hume

This is what Hume looks like ‘the morning after’. Photo: Supplied.

Skid marks, rubber from tyres and other rubbish, including empty bottles and food wrappers, tell what took place after dark.

An ACT Policing spokesperson says police will intervene if they see street-racing, conducting burnouts, drifting or speeding, and they acknowledged they are regularly called out to respond to incidents of street racing and burnout activity on Canberra’s roads.

For police, the usual process is to disperse the meeting and then, at a later time, engage the drivers to hand out fines or have their vehicle impounded.

Drivers identified as street racing, conducting burnouts or speeding can and do face a range of penalties, including fines, criminal charges, and vehicle impoundment.

Similarly, any vehicles identified as un-roadworthy or illegally modified can be ordered off the road until the issue is rectified and fines may be issued.

Members of the public are encouraged to report incidents of hooning to ACT Policing on 13 14 44 with as much information as possible – including the make, model and colour of the vehicle involved and the location of the incident.

In the five years to November 2021, more than 4000 cautions, infringements and charges have been issued by police to people caught hooning. In May 2021, a total of 150 hooning offences were recorded.

READ ALSO Matt McLuckie identified as person killed in head-on smash on Hindmarsh Drive

After a spate of fatalities on Canberra’s roads in the last week, police are encouraging drivers to be particularly considerate of their own and the wider community’s safety.

“Speeding and dangerous driving can have serious consequences – as we have seen in the ACT in the past week,” a police spokesperson said.

Twenty-year-old Canberran Matthew McLukie was killed last week in a head-on smash on Hindmarsh Drive on his way home from work. It’s believed two other vehicles were involved in a race at the time the incident occurred.

His family today issued an appeal for anyone with any information about a suspected third vehicle involved in the incident to come forward.

Know more about this story? Email ltwyford@region.com.au.

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Some time ago there was a drag way (strip) near the Canberra airport. Many young persons visited there on weekends and it was used during Summernats. A well know Canberra identity Chic Henry the founder of Summernats who sadly recently passed away was instrumental in providing a place for young person to not only display their motor vehicles but also to engage in some form of motor sport. At Chic’s memorial at EPIC hundreds of friends attended to farewell him. SA number of Canberra politicians attended including Shane Rattenberry.
Sadly a venue for young people to perform some type of motor sport is lacking. The venue neat the airport could be resurrected by Government or by private companies, perhaps from the Motor Vehicle Traders. If so it could provide a supervised venue where young enthusiasts can enter as competitors and race against the clock and enjoy their modified or standard motor vehicles. A small entrance fee, scrutineered vehicle to ensure it is safe, a helmet and fire extinguisher then ready to be competitive. If this was to be prioritised by government then perhaps much of the racing and foolishness could be limited and may in fact save lives. I have raised this with a number of friends who believe it could be the answer if implemented. I am sure a number of Canberra’s car clubs would be on board with this suggestion. (just a thought).

Finagen_Freeman6:45 pm 24 May 22

Got to agree with A_Cog that ACT Police as a service is unsatisfactory. Interest in basic, recurring criminal activity is close to zip.

Whether it’s financial resources or inept leadership. Change is needed.

Matt McLuckie is dead because ACT Policing are slack, and refuse to do their job. Hooning has been getting worse all over Canberra for more than a year. Plenty of cops in the city Monday to Friday during work hours, but zero on the roads at night. Canberra has had weak policing for over a decade. Did you know that the ACT has the lowest rate of crime solving of any police force in Australia? By a mile! Check out the PC’s ROGS for justice, and look for “clearance rates” (that’s a reported crime being solved within 30 days). The cops blame resourcing for being spread thin, but it’s not, it’s management and uniform decisions to not crack down. Pathetic and sad.

Scroll down to “outcomes of investigations” and play with the table. You’ll see.

Worst. Police. Nationally.

https://www.pc.gov.au/research/ongoing/report-on-government-services/2022/justice/police-services

I have to agree. I think the strategy of ACT policing is to deliver as little as possible (response squads instead of active patrols) as a means of using public pressure to get more resources. It ain’t gonna happen.

Scott Anthony7:19 pm 24 May 22

In terms of road policing they are non-existent, preferring to hide in unmarked cars or on a ‘blitz’ to get tickets issues up quickly then back to the doughnuts in the station… We had 3 fatalities in 48 hours and the cops show up afterwards asking for video footage so they can ‘follow up’… Taxpayers pay for this **** and all we got was a slow tram that loses money and $1.3 Billion in debt with more to come… I don’t mind cops but they are doing nothing to keep people safe on the roads.

I dunno… A full prison and full court lists tend to disagree with what your saying… Unless… Someone else is arresting all these people? Batman maybe? Or the Easter bunny?

Wish they could be as efficient at solving crimes as cropping parking fines.

Scott Anthony6:06 pm 24 May 22

I almost got run off the road on a motorbike going up Telstra Tower when 50 boys in their turbocharged ‘Need for Speed’ crap boxes took over the place… So sad that the cops aren’t interested in Canberra… The roads are a joke now…

Jake Pulvirenti10:41 am 25 May 22

So you where doing the speed li it on Ur motor bike up a winding road? (which most motorcycle enthusiasts love by the way) its simple all yas gotta do is build Canberra a pad, oh wait THEY ALL READY HAVE ONE BUT DONT LET UD USE IT

Almost 1,000 cautions every year would suggest these warnings are being completely disregarded. A third of which are probably handed out over Summernats.

There simply aren’t the police out there policing this, and in the rare moment they do turn up and catch these clowns, the fines/penalties are so weak they are clearly not serving as a deterrent.

Non existent police officers, enforcing weak penalties, has been a major contributing factor to most of the roads deaths in Canberra this year.

I would say that 1000 cautions are too many, and fines with loss of demerit points would be more effective. I don’t think the volume of cautions from summernats is there to be honest – they are publicised when they are issued and I don’t recall hundreds of being issued.

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