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Victoria Police Warn Officers Have The Power To Arrest Anyone Not Wearing A Mask

Victoria Police Warn Officers Have The Power To Arrest Anyone Not Wearing A Mask

Victorian Police were called to several incidents over the weekend relating to people refusing to wear face masks in public.

Since last week, it's become mandatory to wear a face covering to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Thousands of people have tested positive for the virus over the past few weeks and authorities say a face mask is an effective tool in keeping transmission low.

These anti-mask wearers have posted videos of them confronting store staff and police, saying they don't have to wear a covering because it's against their human rights.

One woman who was stopped for not wearing a mask in public even claimed police had no right to question her, ask for her identity or arrest her - despite the fact she was breaking the law.

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But Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Rick Nugent has warned people that the full force of the law will come down on people who try to flout the new restrictions.

"My message to anyone planning to break the rules is simple: no one has a human right to infect other people and place the entire Victorian community at risk," he said in a statement.

"In fact, this type of behaviour is childish and is completely unacceptable when police are working incredibly hard to keep the community safe. Victoria Police will continue to use the powers available to them under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 to enforce the Chief Health Officer directions.

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"We will not hesitate to issue $200 fines to people who are obviously and blatantly failing to wear a face covering without a valid reason, such as a medical condition.

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"Police also have the power to arrest people who choose not to wear face coverings and subsequently fail to comply with a police directive to provide proof of identity."

Yesterday, Victoria set a record for the most amount of coronavirus infections in a 24-hour period, with 532 positive test results and six deaths.

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Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has thanked people for largely following the new mandatory mask rule.

However he's also lashed out at the ones who have tried to deliberately disturb the peace by going into shops without a face covering and filming their interaction with staff.

One woman was placed in cuffs after refusing to hand over her details. Credit: sexenheimer/Twitter
One woman was placed in cuffs after refusing to hand over her details. Credit: sexenheimer/Twitter

Mr Andrews said during a press conference: "The thing with conspiracy theorists [is] the more you engage in an argument with them, the more oxygen you are giving them.

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"Ultimately, I think people can judge for themselves the efficacy, the credibility of people who are running those sort of keyboard warrior campaigns.

"Seriously, one more comment about human rights - honestly. It is about human life. If we continue with this stuff, standing in the car park of Bunnings reading whatever nonsense you have pulled up from some obscure website.

"Their behaviour is appalling. Their views have no basis in science or fact or law. Don't focus on them."

Featured Image Credit: Victoria Police

Topics: covid-19-positive, News, Australia

Stewart Perrie

Stewart Perrie is a Trending Journalist at LADbible. His first job was as a newsreader and journalist at the award winning Sydney radio station, Macquarie Radio. He was solely responsible for the content broadcast on multiple stations across Australia when the MH17, Germanwings and AirAsia disasters unfolded. Stewart has covered the conflict in Syria for LADbible, interviewing a doctor on the front line, and has contributed to the hugely successful UOKM8 campaign.