Police have arrested 14 people as part of an enforcement operation to crack down on youth and high harm offending coming into New Year’s Eve celebrations across the state.
Detectives have executed warrants across Melbourne’s suburbs and western Victoria over the past four days, as part of Operation Liege.
So far 12 males and two females have been arrested and 29 charges have been laid for offences including robbery, affray, burglary, reckless conduct endangering life and vehicle crime linked to serious offending.
Warrants have been executed in suburbs including Melton, St Albans, Point Cook, Deer Park and Cranbourne, as well as the regional cities of Ballarat, Hamilton and Warrnambool between 27 and 30 December.
Eleven of those arrested are aged between 14 and 22-years-old.
Seven people have been remanded and four bailed to appear at a court at a later date. Two people have been released pending further enquiries and one person will be charged on summons.
Police have also engaged with 44 persons of interest and conducted bail compliance check to reinforce our zero-tolerance attitude to defiance of these conditions and any other court orders.
North West Metro Region Acting Assistant Commissioner Tim Hansen said detectives had shared intelligence to identify a priority list of people who were at risk of committing offences or not complying with bail conditions.
“New Year’s Eve is one of the biggest events on the Victorian calendar. It’s a time for the community to celebrate with family and friends and it’s everyone’s right to be able to do so safely,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Hansen said.
“Victoria Police has mobilised state-wide resources over the past four days to ensure any high-risk offenders wanted by police for outstanding warrants or other matters are brought into custody.
“We want to ensure criminals who are committing crimes such as robbery, affray and vehicle crime or who are flouting the law by not complying with court orders or conditions are held to account and off our streets.
“This is a tactic we’ve used previously for major events such as Moomba and White Night. It’s about maximising safety and sending a really strong message to a small group of offenders who have the potential to inflict significant harm on the community.
Police across the state will continue to engage with persons of interest, conducting enforcement activity and regular bail compliance checks in coming days.
“Our message to those committing these offences is clear – police will find you, we will hold you to account and we will ensure you do not continue to inflict harm on the Victorian community.”
Operation Liege complements the ongoing work of regional crime teams as well as localised initiatives including operations Wayward and Tidal.
“Officers right across Victoria are working hard every day to keep the community safe by holding offenders to account and prevent youth-related crime,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Hansen said.
“At a local level police proactively manage bail compliance of high-risk persons of interest and work with partner agencies to help them become engaged in their community through education and employment.”
Operation Liege is an ongoing state-wide investigative and enforcement capability activated as required to address youth-related offending across Victoria.