TOUGH NEW SEARCH POWERS FOR POLICE
TO TARGET ILLEGAL GUNS
By NSW Premier Barry O ‘Farrell
The NSW Police Force has been working hard to keep our streets and our community safe – but we are determined to crack down on criminals who use guns to harm and intimidate others.
Each time these criminals carry out a targeted attack on our streets, near our homes, the likelihood of that attack hurting or killing an innocent bystander increases.
To help combat the problem, the NSW Government has introduced new laws to Parliament to give police wide-ranging powers to search for firearms and target criminal hang-outs and crime dens.
The new laws are tough, but I will not apologise for that.
Anyone who is a law-abiding citizen has nothing to fear; anyone who is a legitimate owner of a gun has nothing to fear. However, people who illegally carry and use guns will face the full weight of the law.
We are giving police greater search powers to target individuals subject to firearm bans. Under the changes, police will be able to detain these people and search them for guns without the need for a warrant.
Criminals who carry weapons illegally need to know police will be able to stop and search for them in their cars, in their homes and in their workplace – there won’t be any place for them to hide.
Penalties will increase from 10 to 14 years in jail for the possession and/or supply of a firearm or pistol for a person who is subject to a firearm ban.
Police will have more powers to search for guns without a warrant in criminal hang outs, officially known as disorderly houses.
We are changing the legislation because the current laws on firearm bans are ineffective and, as a result, are rarely issued by police.
The tough new measures come after consultation with NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione.
Police have already been doing a fantastic job fighting gun crime – with officers taking 9,000 guns, including 729 handguns, off the streets last year.
Last month police launched Operation Talon to combat gun crime – it draws on the combined resources of all local area commands, squads from within the State Crime Command, officers from the Major Events and Incidents Group and support from specialis t commands.
The NSW Government has previously given police additional powers to crack down on criminals and gun-related crime including:
• employing an additional 420 police officers;
• strengthening consorting offences to stop criminals associating;
• tightening the supply of ammunition to stop it falling into the hands of criminals;
• passing tough anti-outlaw motorcycle gang laws which declares them criminal organisations;
• reforming the Crime Commission to refocus on organised crime;
• changing the right to silence laws to help compel witnesses to co-operate with investigators;
• reforming the security industry to stop organised crime involvement in the industry;
• rolling out Automatic Number Plate Recognition Technology (ANPR) to quickly identify criminals on the roads; and,
• deploying 25 new Mobile Police Command Vehicles to have ‘police stations on wheels’ moving around the community.
As I told Parliament recently, police officers face danger every day and it requires a special type of person to take on that role. I thank and congratulate them for their work making NSW a safer place to live.