Charlene Macaulay, 29 March 2016

A Victorian parliamentary committee has called on industry, government and police to join forces to tackle the problem of petrol drive-offs.

An inquiry by the state Law Reform, Road and Community Safety Committee has invited contributions from petrol station owners and operators, insurance companies, members of the public and other stakeholders on how to reduce the incidence of petrol drive-offs and find ways for operators to recover their losses.

“The committee received evidence suggesting a correlation between fuel theft and other forms of criminality such as vehicle and numberplate theft,” the inquiry report read.

“The committee noted that a proportion of fuel drive‑offs were opportunistic, by people who believe that detection and prosecution is sufficiently remote to make it worth ‘taking the chance’.”

The committee recommended that Victoria Police develop an online incident report form and hold forums with the fuel retail industry to improve reporting of offences and for a statewide education campaign on petrol drive-offs.

Wyndham cases

Committee chairman Geoff Howard said a partnership approach between industry, government and law enforcement was the best way to combat drive-offs. Crime statistics show there were 1500 petrol drive-off offences in Wyndham in the five years to last September 30.

Of those, 1126 are unsolved.

Extracted in full from the Star Weekly.