POLICE are concerned about the attitude of parts of the community towards those who walk the thin blue line, following two incidents of police cars allegedly being rammed in the region within a week.
It comes at a time when the safety of frontline police is already in the spotlight, following four police officers - Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor, Senior Constable Kevin King, Constable Josh Prestney and Constable Glen Humphris - being killed when a truck ploughed into them as they stood in the emergency lane of the Eastern Freeway in Kew last week.
The offence of ramming police cars, sometimes in an attempt to avoid arrest, is not a new phenomenon, but continues to be a concern for police carrying out their duties.
In late 2017, stricter laws were introduced as a deterrent, but also to allow police to charge offenders who put their safety at risk. An offender who intentionally drives at a police officer can face up to 20 years' imprisonment, while recklessly driving at an officer can result in up to 10 years in jail.
The latest alleged ramming in Ballarat occurred during a joint police operation conducted by the Ballarat and Moorabool Crime Investigation Units, the Ballarat Divisional Response Unit and the canine unit earlier this week.
The operation was set up in order to track down offenders believed to be involved in aggravated burglaries in Ballarat, Daylesford and Trentham in recent weeks.
Inspector Greg Payne told The Courier that mere hours after the operation began, police identified the alleged offenders in a stolen car.
As police tried to intercept the occupants of the vehicle, they were allegedly rammed.
We are no different to any other member of the community. We go out there at night when other people don't and we do the jobs that other people wouldn't do. So we are there to protect the community but we also need the community support.Inspector Greg Payne
He said the wider issue of people driving at police and their vehicles was "extremely disturbing" particularly given the recent sensitivity around police safety.
He said the offence "put everybody's lives at risk and particularly police officers who are just going about their business and doing their job."
"They're also putting the wider community at risk with their behaviour because they just seem to think it's okay to confront police members and ram their vehicles and put them and everybody else in danger. It's totally unacceptable."
Inspector Payne said police members all have families, children, relatives and friends, but that is often a fact people forget.
"We are no different to any other member of the community. We go out there at night when other people don't and we do the jobs that other people wouldn't do. So we are there to protect the community but we also need the community support," he said.
Between December 27 and April 29, local police have apprehended more than 100 high impact offenders. Inspector Payne said this successful result was made possible by not only the commitment of police officers across the region, but also the community - who has been providing valuable information and assistance.
If you are seeing this message you are a loyal digital subscriber to The Courier, as we made this story available only to subscribers. Thankyou very much for your support and allowing us to continue telling Ballarat's story. We appreciate your support of journalism in our great city.