Police Crack Down on Illicit Firearms Use with String of Arrests
Last week, detectives from Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong, and Wyndham collaborated on a joint operation, conducting 25 compliance checks related to firearm prohibition orders (FPOs) in the northwest region. This two-day operation aimed to disrupt and discourage the illicit use of firearms by searching the residences of individuals subject to active FPOs.
During one of these searches in Tarneit, law enforcement officers discovered an imitation handgun and a firearm magazine. Subsequently, they arrested a 20-year-old man who was charged with possessing an imitation firearm while being prohibited and committing an indictable offence while on bail. He was taken into custody and will appear in court at a later date.
In another search conducted in Werribee, officers found an imitation handgun along with a quantity of methylamphetamine. A 22-year-old man was arrested and charged with prohibited possession of a firearm, possession of drugs of dependence, and handling stolen goods. Further searches in the vicinity led to the discovery of another imitation firearm, cannabis, steroids, and a stolen vehicle.
FPOs are legal orders that prohibit individuals from acquiring, possessing, or using firearms or related items. These orders also restrict access to certain premises, including firearms dealerships and shooting ranges. Once an FPO is issued to an individual, law enforcement authorities have the authority to conduct searches on their person, as well as their premises and vehicles. These searches are not tied to a specific location but are directly linked to the person subject to the order. Police can also search any person in the company of the individual if they have reasonable suspicion that the person is involved in or about to commit an offence under the Firearms Act 1996 and is in possession of a firearm or firearm-related item.
FPOs are not only issued for individuals with a history of firearms offenses but also for those known to have a history of violence and pose a risk to the community if they were to access firearms.
Detective Acting Inspector Caroline Johnson, ND2 Investigation and Response, emphasized the effectiveness of FPOs in preventing and disrupting firearms-related offenses. She noted that out of the 25 individuals searched, only two were found with firearm-related material, underscoring the impact of these orders. She highlighted that FPOs serve as a strong deterrent, as those subject to them are aware of the severe penalties they face if caught. Ensuring community safety remains a top priority, and efforts to make it challenging for individuals with FPOs to possess firearms will continue.