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‘Jack’s Law’, ‘Wanding’: new measures to curb knife crime

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Police will soon be permitted to “wand” or “scan” people for knives without a warrant as part of the introduction of new laws designed to curb knife crime. 

The policies, announced by the NSW Government on Tuesday 7 May, include the introduction of additional police powers, and further penalties for knife retailers. 

The package of “common-sense reforms” targeting knife possession, particularly among young people, is designed to boost community safety. 

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

New measures are being introduced in a bid to curb knife crime in NSW

In its package of reforms, the state government will develop legislation modelled on Queensland’s Jack’s Law which gives 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 6 months.

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

Selling knives to a child under the age of 18 will be illegal, with provisions for exemptions for retailers selling to young people who need a knife for their work or study. 

Penalties for people selling knives to young people under the age of 18 will increase. 

“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,” Mr Minns said. 

The reforms follow the doubling of the maximum penalties for various knife related offences introduced in 2023, and the review by the NSW Sentencing Council into sentencing for firearms, knives, and other weapons offences.

In the past year alone, almost 4000 knives were seized in public places. 

Minister for the Police and Counter-terrorism Yasmin Catley said the new reforms send would-be perpetrators a strong message that the government is committed to tackling violent knife crime in the community. 

“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,” she stated. 

“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.” 

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