Covert night-time weapons to be deployed against hoons

Police will soon be armed with hi-tech night vision cameras to crackdown on hoons, with new covert technology to be rolled out across the state.

The Palaszczuk Government will also consider shifting the onus of proof to vehicle owners - making it easier for authorities to take enforcement action against hooning drivers.

The new technology can be used covertly, operated by an officer or deployed with drones, with police expected to use the cameras to target gatherings of hoons.

Police Minister Mark Ryan said the new cameras and proposed bolstered laws would mean police could use high resolution images to identify offending vehicles and take action against the registered driver.

Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll. Photographer: Liam Kidston
Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll. Photographer: Liam Kidston

It would be up to the owner to demonstrate that they were not driving at the time.

"These changes will provide police with enhanced flexibility when dealing with gatherings of hoons," Mr Ryan said.

"For example, if dozens of cars were hooning in a particular location, police would be able to use these new hi-tech cameras to capture images of all the vehicles.

"An offender would no longer be able to avoid prosecution by simply masking their identities and denying they had been behind the wheel.

"There's no apology for targeting these reckless drivers."

Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said police welcomed any strategy to address hooning.

"Hooning is not only anti-social in its impacts on the community, but potentially life endangering for the hoons and innocent road users," Ms Carroll said.

"The community rightly expects hooning behaviour to be addressed and the QPS remains committed to targeting hoons and other unsafe driving behaviours."

The reversed onus of proof will also give police greater powers to take action against drivers busted hooning on CCTV as well.

"The expanded laws would apply to a greater range of traffic offences caught on camera," Mr Ryan said.

Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers welcomed the announcement, saying it was something they had been calling for.

"The winners with this will not just be police who will no longer have to prove who is driving a vehicle, it is also the public as this change will make police more efficient and will lead towards building a safer Queensland," he said.

Police already use the POLAIR helicopter and social media to track down reckless drivers.



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