24 May, 2024
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NSW introduces laws to get knives off the street and boost community safety

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The NSW Government will today introduce 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.

The legislation is part of a package of commonsense reforms to target possession of knives, particularly among young people, reduce knife crime and boost community safety.

Under the new legislation, a senior police officer of the rank of Assistant Commissioner or above can turn on wanding powers to be used in a designated areas including:

  • Public transport station (including bus, train and tram stations) and surrounds.
  • Public transport vehicles within two scheduled stops of a designated public transport station
  • Shopping precincts
  • Certain sporting venues
  • Other public places, designated by regulation, including special events and places that are part of the night-time economy.

This will mean that, compared to Queensland’s ‘Jack’s Law’, NSW will have more designated areas and more flexibility to capture places in which events are held, such as the Royal Easter Show and entertainment areas.

The authority will last for 12 hours, with an option to extend as required.

Police can “wand” any person in a designated area and may request that person produce a metal object, if detected. Failure to comply may result in a maximum penalty of a fine of $5,500.

Importantly, wanding powers can be turned on for areas where there have been issues related to knife crime or knife possession offences where one of the following have occurred in the last 12 months:

  • At least 1 offence committed by person armed with knife or weapon.
  • At least 1 serious indictable offence involving violence.
  • More than 1 offence of knife possession or prohibited weapon possession.

In addition to wanding provisions, the legislation will also make it illegal to sell knives to a child under the age of 18, with exemptions for retailers selling to young people who need a knife for their work or study as well as increasing penalties for people selling knives to young people under the age of 18.

The package of reforms will help address knife-related crime, get knives off streets and keep the community safer.

The reforms build upon responsible action taken by the NSW Government over the last year including:

  • Doubling of the maximum penalties for various knife related offences in 2023.
  • Ongoing review by the NSW Sentencing Council into sentencing for firearms, knives, and other weapons offences.
  • Ongoing high impact NSW Police operations such as “Operation Foil” – an ongoing, targeted operation which last ran from 11–13 April 2024. It targets knife crime and anti-social behaviour with 51 knives/weapons seized and 145 people charged with weapon-related offences.  In the last year alone almost 4,000 knives were seized in public places.

Premier Chris Minns said:

“Today we are introducing legislation modelled on new powers for Police to search and detect knives in public spaces, based on Queensland’s Jack’s Law.

“My hope is that these commonsense reforms stop people from taking a knife into the community and prevent some of the devastating outcomes of knife related violence we have seen in recent months.

“The NSW Government is committed to tackling knife crime to keep our communities safe and these reforms send a strong message that knife crime is not tolerated.”

Minister for the Police and Counter-terrorism Yasmin Catley said:

“Giving police the ability to ‘wand’ or ‘scan’ for knives in designated areas is a proactive step toward ensuring community safety. By detecting and deterring knife possession, we’re not just preventing potential crime, we’re also safeguarding lives.

“The introduction of legislation inspired by Jack’s Law isn’t just about law enforcement. It’s also about instilling confidence in our community, showing that we’re actively working to keep them safe.

“These laws mark a crucial shift in our approach to combatting knife crime, especially among our youth. By introducing this legislation, we’re sending a clear message that knife crime will not be tolerated in our community.”

Attorney General Michael Daley said:

“The Government is tackling knife crime and keeping the people of NSW safe.

“We are sending a clear message that it is a crime to carry a knife and under these new measures, you will face a greater chance of being caught if you carry one.

“I want to say to young people in particular: Do NOT take a knife with you when you leave home. The chances of being caught by police and ending up with a fine or in a court on possession charges are about to become much higher.

“It’s not worth the risk.”

Chris Minns

Premier of New South Wales

Yasmin Catley

Minister for Police and Counter-terrorism

Minister for the Hunter  

Michael Daley 

Attorney General 

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