Shoot-to-kill power granted to cops in Victoria

Melbourne: Police in Victoria have been granted shoot-to-kill powers in the event of a hostile vehicle attack — a shocking trend which has become increasingly common in global terror incidents over recent years.

The regulations, which were revealed to the public on Monday, represent an Australian first in terms of the specific policy for dealing with hostile vehicle attacks, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Protecting the community is our number one priority and by releasing this policy we are trusting our officers to assess the situation and act accordingly,” Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton said.

Police in Victoria will now be free to use a range of tactical engagements in the event of a hostile vehicle attack, ranging from ramming offending vehicles, roadblocks and, if necessary, shooting the offender.

Hundreds of people have been killed and injured in vehicle attacks since 2016, when a religious extremist drove a rental truck down a crowded promenade in the French city of Nice during a Bastille Day celebration.

The attack left 86 people dead and 458 injured, awakening the global public to the deadly possibility of vehicles being used as weapons of terror.

Following the attack in Nice, the number of hostile vehicle attacks surged particularly in Europe and the US, with attacks in Germany, Spain, Sweden, Ohio and New York leaving a combined 48 people dead, and four separate deadly incidents occurring in London alone.

In 2017, the state of Victoria suffered its own vehicle attack when a lone offender drove a stolen car into pedestrians on the crowded Bourke Street Mall in Melbourne, killing six people.