Monday, May 20, 2024

NSW models new knife reforms on Jack’s Law

The NSW Government has announced a package of reforms to target the illegal possession of knives, particularly among young people.

Under the new reforms, the State Government will:

  • Develop legislation modelled on Queensland’s Jack’s Law which will give police powers to “wand” or “scan” people for knives without a warrant in designated areas, including transport hubs, shopping centres and other crowded places. These powers will be made available in circumstances where a relevant weapons offence/knife crime has occurred within the past six months. An authority can then be issued by police, enabling them to “wand” or “scan” people. The authority will last for 12 hours, with an option to extend as required;
  • Make it illegal to sell knives to a child under the age of 18, with provisions for exemptions for retailers selling to young people who need a knife for their work or study;
  • Increase penalties for people selling knives to young people under the age of 18;

NSW Premier, Chris Minns says the reforms will help address knife-related crime, get knives off streets and keep the community safer.

“In recent weeks and months, we have all borne witness to the devastating outcomes of knife related violence,” said Mr Minns.

“I know that many in our community have followed the devastating media coverage and heard the stories of victims and families – tragically there have been so many recent examples.

“Our communities are still in mourning, but it’s essential that we step up to take immediate action to send a clear message that NSW will simply not accept these kinds of crimes.

“Today we are announcing reform including legislation modelled on new powers for police to search and detect knives in public spaces, based on Queensland’s Jack’s Law, and a common-sense increase to the age limit for purchasing knives from 16 to 18 to make it harder for children to get access to these deadly weapons.”

The new “wanding” laws will be based on Jack’s Law and adapted for the NSW context with details being finalised ahead of legislation to be introduced to parliament, he said.

Parents Brett and Belinda Beasley (right) follow son Jack’s casket following his funeral service in 2019.
Jack Beasley was just 17 when he was fatally stabbed.

Jack’s Law was introduced in Queensland last year, following the tragic stabbing death of teenager Jack Beasley in December 2019. The law gives the State’s police the power to use metal-detecting wands in entertainment precincts and around public transport.

NSW Minister for the Police and Counter-terrorism, Yasmin Catley says the reforms send a strong message about the seriousness of knife related violence and the NSW Government’s commitment to take immediate proactive steps to prevent future tragedies, while also addressing longer term challenges such as serious mental health issues and the broader incidence of violent crime.

“These reforms send a strong warning to would-be perpetrators,” said Minister Catley.

“I want to thank Mr and Mrs Beasley and our colleagues in the Queensland Government for working with us to share their experiences and their knowledge in regard to Jack’s Law.

“No parent should go through what the Beasleys and many other families have gone through. No life should be cut short by violent crime.

“We’ll be looking at how these strategies work in a NSW context. Strategies that we know are making a difference in Queensland.

“These reforms will give police improved tools to quickly detect concealed knives and take action before a potential perpetrator has the chance to use them.

“These reforms are about keeping people safe. I want the community to have the confidence that this government is committed to giving the NSW Police Force all the tools required to combat violent crime,” she said.

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