Melbourne residents are being urged to dob in anyone they suspect are breaking COVID-19 lockdown rules as police enforcement ramps up in hotspot suburbs.
More than 1,000 police officers, including members from elite units, will stalk the streets over the month-long lockdown which has been set in 36 suburbs in the city’s north west.
Drones will also be hovering above neighbourhoods keeping a watchful eye on residents, who will be hit with a $1,652 fine if caught breaking the rules.
The state recorded 66 new cases on Friday, with Premier Daniel Andrews warning more suburbs could soon be locked down.
Melbourne residents are being urged to dob in anyone they suspect are breaking COVID-19 lockdown rules (pictured, police direct traffic in Broadmeadows in Melbourne on Thursday)
Victoria Police are seen at a local lockdown checkpoint on Sydney Road in Fawkner on Friday (pictured) as patrols ramped up across Melbourne
Victoria Police has been flooded with calls from concerned neighbours and urged people to continue reporting breaches on their website or non-emergency phone line.
On average, police received around 3,500 non-urgent calls a day, but after the outbreak of the deadly virus became inundated with up to 11,000 everyday – the majority reporting those flouting the rules.
Automated number plate scanners will also be used to catch anyone travelling to or from a coronavirus hotspot.
Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said already seven people had been busted breaching strict stay-at-home rules.
A quiet scene outside a supermarket in Broadmeadows on Thursday (pictured), which is one of the suburbs in lockdown
Cars are seen being stopped going in and out of the coronavirus lockdown suburbs in Melbourne on Friday (pictured, a check point at Sydney Road in Fawkner)
Residents living in the hotspots are only permitted to leave their homes for work and school, food shopping, giving care and daily exercise.
‘People will not know where we will be, they will not know how long we’ll be there for. But they’ll be intercepted,’ Commissioner Patton said on Thursday.
‘I want to be absolutely crystal-clear: for those who are selfish enough to disregard these warnings from the CHO, the deliberate, obvious and blatant breaches, if they’re committing that, we will be infringing them.
‘The window of police discretion is a very small window at the moment, I can assure you, and it’s rapidly closing.’
A sign is seen reading ‘If you have any symptoms please go home – ‘No shopping’ at the Broadmeadows central shopping centre (pictured on Thursday)
Police will be enforcing the orders with random vehicle checks similar to random breath tests and will dish out on-the-spot fines.
Each motorist is being asked where they are going, where they have come from and the reason for their travel.
Restaurants, gyms, pubs and all other non-essential services in the suburbs must once again close their doors.
Affected businesses will be compensated with a government cash grant of $5,000.
Victoria Police officers are seen checking driver’s licenses at a roadblock site in Broadmeadows, Melbourne on Thursday (pictured)
The Melbourne postcodes with the most infections are 3038, 3031 and 3064
The lockdown, which came into force from 11.59pm on Wednesday, will last for four weeks.
‘You would have to have been on Mars not to understand that the Chief Health Officer’s restrictions apply in these 36 suburbs and that you’re expected to adhere to them,’ Commissioner Patton said.
‘It’s up to us to make sure that those selfish few who aren’t adhering to the guidelines know there are consequences, and by doing that we can help stop the spread.’
Premier Daniel Andrews said the lockdown was ‘deeply painful’ and ‘damaging for businesses’ but insisted that it was necessary.
‘If we don’t take these steps now we will be locking down every postcode,’ he said.
Government staff are seen knocking on doors to explain testing procedures to residents in Brunswick West on Thursday (pictured)
Each motorist is being asked where they are going, where they have come from and the reason for their travel
Which suburbs are locked down?
3012 – Brooklyn, Kingsville, Maidstone, Tottenham, West Footscray
3021 – Albanvale, Kealba, Kings Park, St Albans
3032 – Ascot Vale, Highpoint City, Maribyrnong, Travancore
3038 – Keilor Downs, Keilor Lodge, Taylors Lakes, Watergardens
3042 – Airport West, Keilor Park, Niddrie
3046 – Glenroy, Hadfield, Oak Park
3047 – Broadmeadows, Dallas, Jacana
3055 – Brunswick South, Brunswick West, Moonee Vale, Moreland West
3060 – Fawkner
3064 – Craigieburn, Donnybrook, Mickelham, Roxburgh Park, Kalkallo