Tuesday 25 June 2024

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Contact 1800 772 679

The magazine of the Public Service Association of NSW and the Community and Public Sector Union (NSW Branch)

Unions Win Tougher Laws On Knife Crime

Unions Win Tougher Laws On Knife Crime

Stewart Little successfully called on the NSW Government to urgently introduce new powers for police to conduct non-invasive knife searches.

Thanks to union campaigning, NSW is bringing in laws to give police powers to search for knives using metal- detection wands.

The campaign followed the Bondi Junction Westfields attack, and just days later the church attack at Wakeley. Both events proved to the people of NSW that knives are too easily concealed; but too deadly to ignore.

The laws are modelled on similar legislation north of the border.

Queensland Police were recently given the legal right to use metal detectors to search people without a warrant. Known as ‘Jack’s Law’, the legislation is named after 17-year-old Jack Beasley who was fatally stabbed at the Gold Coast. Now the NSW State Government has introduced similar laws with support from the State Opposition.

Advocating for change, PSA CPSU NSW General Secretary Stewart Little said the union represents members who work in areas where the potential for knife crime is unfortunately a reality. He said members should never have to be exposed to the prospect of encountering knife crime.

“Our members are out there each day in the community and every knife that’s on the streets makes them a little less safe,” said Mr Little. “If you’re carrying a concealed knife, you should know there’s a very good chance you’re going to get caught by the police. That’s the peace of mind my members want and it’s what their communities want.

“Our members who work in the police, youth justice, and the prison system are appalled at the current incidence of youth knife crime. Something needs to be done.

“As a union, the PSA is no advocate for overzealous impingement on people’s civil liberties or right to privacy; however, as the Queensland model has demonstrated, if used in the spirit of public and workplace safety, this law is a success.

“We are happy both the Government and Opposition listened to front-line workers and made these changes.”

Since its introduction, more than 800 weapons have been removed from the streets in Queensland.

Mr Little was interviewed by the media over the then proposed changes, alongside three other union leaders.

“We want to pro-actively prevent knife crime from occurring,” said Kevin Morton, President of Police Association of NSW at the press conference. “This is not an enforcement issue, but about keeping the community safe in day-to- day life.”

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