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Throw the book at cowboys ramming police cars
Tuesday 31 January 2023
Today, I wrote to the Premier Mark McGowan and I asked him to:
1. Make the act of ramming a police vehicle a specific offence in Western Australia, attracting a term of imprisonment of up to 3 years; and 
2. Make the use of a stolen vehicle an aggravating circumstance for this offence, attracting a term of imprisonment of up to 10 years.
On Sunday, two police officers were airlifted to hospital after sustaining injuries when their car was rammed in Lake Clifton. The photos from that incident are quite confronting and they illustrate why ramming a police vehicle should be a specific offence.
Police officers are not like other public servants. They are emergency workers. If you take them out of action, you jeopardise not only their health and welfare, but the vital service that they provide to the community.
This is especially poignant in rural and regional areas of WA where some police stations have only a handful of police officers who are not easily replaced.
In 2017, Victoria made ramming a police car a specific offence; in 2019, the ACT did as well; and in 2021, the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council produced a reportproduced a report recommending that WA move in this direction. 
A car in the wrong hands can be as lethal as a gun.
One of the factors contributing to the increase in police car ramming is a spike in mental health incidents and the corresponding welfare checks officers carry out.
The rate of mental health presentations to WA emergency departments have increased by 94.8 per cent since 2011, and the number of welfare checks carried out by police officers have increased from 33,000 in 2013 to 53,000 in 2020.
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