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Minns launches knife crime crackdown

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New knife laws for NSW will allow police to conduct searches with metal-detecting wands in areas where recent weapon offences have occurred.
New knife laws for NSW

Proposed laws in NSW will give police officers new powers to search people without a warrant, to target rising knife crime.

Under draft laws announced on Tuesday, officers will be given metal-detecting wands to scan people in public places where recent knife crimes have been committed, like shopping centres and transport hubs.

The legislation will also raise the legal knife-purchasing age in NSW from 16 to 18.

New knife laws for NSW

Proposed laws to give NSW Police new search powers are modelled on similar legislation passed in Queensland.

‘Jack’s Law’ was passed last year in memory of 17-year-old Jack Beasley, who was fatally stabbed on the Gold Coast in 2019.

Over 500 weapons have been confiscated from popular nighttime precincts and public transport areas since the legislation came into effect.

Search powers

Under the proposal, NSW police officers would need to issue a formal notice for an area before they can carry out searches at that location.

The notice will permit police to conduct non-invasive weapon searches in a specific area for 12 hours, but this could be extended.

Premier Chris Minns said people in NSW have witnessed “the devastating outcomes of knife-related violence” in recent weeks, and that his proposal would “send a clear message that NSW will simply not accept these kinds of crimes.”

Knife sales

The NSW Government will also make it illegal to sell knives to children, raising the current age limit of 16 to 18.

Exemptions for children who require knives for work or education will apply.

The proposal comes after NSW doubled the penalties for illegal knife possession in a public place or school last year, including prison sentences of up to four years.

Details of the legislation will be finalised by the government before draft laws are tabled in Parliament.

Opposition view

The NSW Opposition has been calling for greater police search powers in the wake of the recent Bondi Junction and Wakeley stabbing attacks.

This includes giving police metal-detecting wands to use in public places.

The Opposition offered to work with the NSW Government “in a bi-partisan manner” to progress new police powers.

TDA contacted the Opposition for their view on the government’s latest proposal, but didn’t receive a response at the time of publishing.

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