Entire Victoria Police booze bus fleet expected to be off the roads until late May

Broadcast on 3AW on 8 April 2021

The entire Victoria Police booze bus fleet will be off the road for weeks.

Victoria Police has taken the buses off the road after one burst into flames in Lilydale on Sunday.

Initial investigations indicate electrical signage sparked the blaze.

Victoria Police has decided to examine the entire fleet, saying the safety of its officers and the community is the most important factor.

In the meantime, police will rely on handheld units at mobile test sites.

Acting Assistant Commissioner John Fitzpatrick says while it’s “not optimum”, he doesn’t think police will lose a lot of capacity.

“We’ll still be out there testing people for alcohol and drugs.

“What we would normally have on a booze bus is six people, so we’ll put those now into cars.

“Instead of having one large booze bus we’ll have three cars.”

Acting Assistant Commissioner Fitzpatrick says he “would certainly hope that by the end of next month we’ll have all of those booze buses back in operation”.

It’s not the first time the fleet have been taken off the roads. They were out of action for months in 2019 due to steering and braking problems.

The Police Association says it’s appropriate that the entire fleet is pulled off the road.

Secretary Wayne Gatt told Heidi Murphy the measure is necessary.