Monday, June 24, 2024

NSW Government passes new knife laws

The NSW Government has passed new laws which aim to better tackle knife crime by giving police extra powers and introducing tougher restrictions to combat the sale of knives to children.

Under the powers, modelled on Queensland’s Jack’s Law, police will be able to use handheld scanners – or electronic metal-detecting ‘wands’ – to stop and scan individuals without a warrant at designated areas. These will include shopping precincts, sporting venues and public transport stations.

The powers will be made available in circumstances where a relevant offence involving weapons, knives, or violence has occurred within the past 12 months.

A declaration can then be made by a senior police officer, enabling police to scan people for a period of 12 hours (with an option to extend as required, as long as the same criteria are met).

NSW Premier, Chris Minns thanked Brett and Belinda Beasley and the Queensland Government for sharing their experiences and their knowledge in regard to Jack’s Law.

The Queensland Beasley family lost 17-year-old son, Jack, to a knife crime in Surfers Paradise in 2019 and have campaigned for tougher knife laws in the five years since his tragic death.

“I want to genuinely thank Belinda and Brett Beasley whose advocacy has helped change the law, making NSW a safer place,” said Mr Minns.

“Our state is still shaken following the devastating spate of knife-related violence.

“We have taken action to send a clear message that NSW will simply not accept these kinds of crimes.

“These are commonsense changes that strike a careful balance between preserving the rights of individuals and ensuring communities stay safe.”

The Act also increases the maximum penalty for selling a knife to a child under the age of 16 and introduces a new offence prohibiting selling a knife to a child aged 16 or 17 without a reasonable excuse.

The Act amends the Summary Offences Act 1988 (Summary Offences Act) to double the maximum financial penalty for selling a knife to a child under the age of 16 and to introduce a custodial penalty. The maximum penalty is now $11,000, imprisonment for 12 months, or both.

The Act also introduces a new offence into section 11F of the Summary Offences Act that prohibits selling a knife to a child aged 16 or 17 without a reasonable excuse, with provisions for young people needing knives for work or study, such as hospitality students and apprentices in some trades.

“Recently, as a community, we have witnessed tragic events in NSW,” said NSW Attorney General Michael Daley.

“These shocking incidents have laid bare how devastating knife crime can be and how the lives of innocent people can be snatched away in an instant. I can’t begin to imagine the pain those who have suffered from knife crime feel and I offer my sincerest condolences to those affected by it.

“We want to ensure that people in the community feel safe and are safe. Rightly, they expect the government to do more to achieve that and this new Act will help to keep our streets safer.

“Knife crime is unacceptable. The ability for police to ‘wand’ people will help prevent people being injured and will deter people from carrying them and increase community safety.

“These tougher maximum penalties highlight the seriousness of knife-related crime,” he said.

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