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Police arrest powers clarified and strengthened

30 October 2013
NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell announced legislation would be introduced to Parliament to give Police clear and effective arrest powers to protect the community.
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The reforms follow concerns raised earlier this month about police arrest powers and an urgent review of current laws by former Police Minister the Hon Paul Whelan and former Shadow Attorney General Andrew Tink.

The key changes to section 99 of the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act clarify police arrests powers:

  • to preserve the safety or welfare of any person, including the person arrested;
  • to obtain property in the possession of the person that is connected with the offence;
  • to make inquiries to establish the person’s identity or if Police reasonably suspect the information provided by the person is false;
  • because of the nature and seriousness of the offence; and,
  • fleeing from police or from the location of a suspected offence.

“These reforms will give frontline police the certainty they need to do their job and protect the community,” Mr O’Farrell said.

“Loopholes around police arrests powers were put in the too hard basket for too long – these reforms will fix them.

“The reforms bring this State’s arrests powers into line with those in Victoria, Queensland and Britain.

“There is evidence criminals were using the lack of clarity around arrest powers as a loophole to escape conviction and in some instances sue Police for large payouts.

“The job of our frontline Police is tough enough already without loopholes in their arrest powers.

“I thank Paul Whelan and Andrew Tink for their swift work on these reforms. Their report on the remainder of the LEPRA is due before the end of the year,” Mr O’Farrell said.

Police & Justice
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