Cops Now Allowed To Shoot Dead Vehicle Attackers In Australia-First Powers

Victorian police have been told they can use lethal force to stop a vehicle attack, after six people were killed in the Bourke Street rampage.

The directive is contained in Victoria Police's new "hostile vehicle" policy, which allows officers to use "all tactical options" to stop vehicle attacks.

Under the policy, officers will be able to ram an offending vehicle, use roadblocks, box the vehicle in, or shoot the offender as a last resort.

Three such incidents have occurred in Melbourne in recent years. In January 2017, James Gargasoulas drove his car down Melbourne's Bourke Street killing six and injuring 27. In February, he was jailed for life.

James Gargasoulas arrives at the Supreme Court of Victoria in 2018. Image: AAP

In December 2017, Saeed Noori drove his car into pedestrians in the city's CBD, injuring 19 and killing one. He was sentenced to life in jail in March 2019.

In November 2018, Hassan Khalif Shire Ali drove his car into the city's CBD and set it alight, stabbing three people -- one fatally -- before being shot by police.  Ali later died in hospital. Police said the incident was terror-related.

Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton said the policy explicitly states that police are expected to take action to prevent members of the public from being killed or seriously hurt when a vehicle attack occurs.

Victoria is the first jurisdiction in the nation to have a specific policy on responding to such attacks.

Police will be permitted to use lethal force to stop vehicle attacks. Image: AAP

"These attacks are fortunately not a regular occurrence; however, we must be prepared in case they do happen," Patton said on Monday.

"We know hostile vehicle situations can escalate quickly and there is a very real threat that people can be killed or seriously injured. We have seen this here in Melbourne."

"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."

The powers are said to be an Australian-first. Image: Getty

Officers will undergo online and face-to-face training on the new policy from mid-December.

All operational officers are expected to have completed the training by mid-2020.