Saturday, April 20, 2024

Australian-first weapons detection trial put to public hearing

The Queensland Government has announced that a Bill to expand and extend an Australian-first trial to detect weapons and combat violence will go to a public hearing today.

Acting Police Minister, Mark Furner said the important step brings the introduction of the Police Powers and Responsibilities (Jack’s Law) Amendment Bill 2022 one step closer to being legislated.

If passed, the Bill, known as Jack’s Law and named after Jack Beasley – who was tragically fatally stabbed in 2019, will see the Queensland Police Service’s trial of ‘wanding’ powers extended for two years and expanded to all Safe Night Precincts, public transport modes and associated public transport infrastructure.

Jack is farewelled by his family and young friends in 2019.

Minister Furner said today was a vital step in cementing the important change.

“This is all about community safety, and Public Hearings of this nature provide committee members the opportunity to drill down into the details of the Bill and make the recommendations needed to meet community expectations. We welcome any recommendations following the committee,” he said.

“The Palaszczuk Government is always looking at ways to improve community safety, and Jacks’ Law will not only give Queenslanders using our rail networks and going into Safe Night Precincts peace of mind, but we firmly believe it will reduce knife crime and save lives.

“We will always work with the QPS and other agencies and organisations, including the Beasley Foundation, to keep crime off our streets.”

Queensland Police Acting Deputy Commissioner Mark Wheeler said the trial sends a clear message to those choosing to carry weapons in public places.

“Wanding has proven to be a very effective proactive initiative for police to prevent violent crimes in Surfers Paradise and I’m very supportive of the expansion of these measures across the State,” Deputy Commissioner Wheeler said.

“Throughout the trial we have seen hundreds of dangerous weapons being detected and taken off our streets. 

“There is absolutely no reason why a law-abiding citizen needs to arm themselves with knives, knuckle dusters or screw drivers as we have seen on the Gold Coast. 

“Police conducting wanding in certain areas sends a very clear message to anyone contemplating taking a weapon into a public place that it is an offence and you will likely be caught.”

Founders of the Beasley Foundation, Brett and Belinda Beasley (pictured, above), have dedicated their lives since Jack’s death to educate young people about the dangers of knife crime.

“Jack’s Law is about child safety and it’s about keeping all our kids, and the wider community safe,” Mr Beasley said. 

“I think every single Queensland parent should be right beside us in doing this. At the end of the day, we just want to keep our kids safe.

“I’m hoping Jack’s Law will clean up these knives and stop these kids carrying weapons. It’s important we’re at this stage, but the trial needs to be extended.”

Queensland Police conduct a knife patrol.

Queensland Police Union President, Ian Leavers urged the Committee to also support the expansion of wanding statewide.

“These wanding powers for police have been hugely successful in the trial on the Gold Coast,” he said.

“We know these powers work, so I encourage the Committee to recommend that police are given these statewide powers immediately to ensure we can keep people safe.

“I met with Jack Beasley’s mother, Belinda, and members of the Beasley Foundation just this weekend and I know they want these laws to be statewide too.

“Ultimately, Police and the community across Queensland will be better off when police can utilise these laws,” said Mr Leavers.

The committee is due to table its report in the Legislative Assembly on 17 February.

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