POLICE utilised technology in order to target offences during an operation last Friday.
'Operation Detec' was a joint effort by both Ballarat Highway Patrol and uniformed members.
With four vehicles on the road, members worked together to target areas that had been identified as high risk crime locations, including those where petrol drive offs are common.
The highway patrol regularly uses the automatic number plate readers installed in many of its vehicles to detect unregistered vehicles, the registered vehicle owner's licence status and for any outstanding sheriff notices.
During this operation, while stationed at the determined high risk locations, police worked together to look out for offences related to vehicle crime, as often there are linked offences.
Petrol theft is often linked to other crimes such as theft of vehicles, theft from vehicles and even aggravated burglaries, deception and damage offences. It is currently one of Ballarat police's enforcement focuses, with a dedicated petrol theft unit established last year.
Read more: Why police are cracking down on petrol theft
Just last week the latest Crime Statistics Agency data revealed theft, including petrol theft, had risen around Ballarat in 2019.
Read more: What is Ballarat's biggest crime problem?
Ballarat Highway Patrol's Acting Senior Sergeant Stuart Gale said a total of 48 vehicles were checked throughout the operation.
Operation Detec ran from the afternoon into the evening, with 15 penalty notices issued.
These included two unlicensed drivers as well as one suspended driver.
Seven unregistered vehicles were also detected, in addition to five other unspecified offences.
Two vehicles were also impounded. However, no petrol thefts were detected.
While out on the road, police came into contact with one driver who had committed a string of alleged offences, from being unlicensed to driving an unregistered vehicle, handling stolen goods and displaying false number plates.
Meanwhile, another driver returned a reading of 0.183.
Acting Senior Sergeant Gale said the motivation behind the operation was for police to utilise the technology available in the vehicles and to explore the different ways it could be used to target offences across the division.
"We are continuing to evaluate how best to utilise this technology and will expand on the operation in future," he said.
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