26 September 2023

Stats puts numbers on COVID rule breakers

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Police forces around the country recorded almost 30,000 pandemic rule breakers last financial year, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Director of Crime and Justice Statistics at ABS, William Milne said police recorded 29,218 offenders with at least one COVID-19 related offence in 2020-21.

Mr Milne said COVID-19-related offences included failure to comply with directives related to the pandemic under State or Territory Public Health Acts; failure to comply with a directive of a person performing a function under emergency management laws; and providing false or misleading information to a person performing a function under emergency management laws.

“Nationwide, nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) of all COVID-19 -related offenders in Australia were male and over a third (36 per cent) were aged between 20 and 29 years (10,621 offenders),” he said.

“The overall number of offenders recorded by police in Australia declined to 359,975 in 2020-21, a four per cent decrease from the previous year, and the lowest number recorded in 13 years.

“Largely contributing to this decline from 2019-20 was the number of offenders with an illicit drug offence (down 11,745 offenders or 16 per cent) and theft (down 7,893 offenders or 20 per cent).”

Mr Milne said 79 per cent (23,120) of the COVID-19 offenders were in Victoria, which coincided with the State’s lockdown restrictions.

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