​Frontline detention powers are clear

Issued: Tuesday 11 November 2014

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Attorney General and Minister for Justice Brad Hazzard said the NSW Ombudsman could be assured that frontline agencies have strict procedures in place for people subject to preventive detention orders (PDO) under NSW terrorism laws.

The NSW Ombudsman's report regarding the use of preventative detention orders and covert search warrants was tabled in the NSW Parliament today.

"These powers allow the police to apply to the Supreme Court to detain a person without charge for up to 14 days to prevent a suspected imminent terrorist act or preserve evidence of a terrorist act," Mr Hazzard said.

"PDOs were used for the first time in September 2014 - three people were detained by way of PDOs as a result of an investigation by the Joint Counter Terrorism Team into a group of people believed to be planning random attacks on individuals in Australia.

"With the country now on a high security alert and the possibility these powers will be called on in future, I can assure the community that Corrective Services NSW have operational guidelines in place to manage those subject to a PDO."

The guidelines were developed following consultation with key groups including the Anti-Terrorism and Security Group of the NSW Police Force and the NSW Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman's report also recommends the Commissioner of Police review Police, Corrective Services and Juvenile Justice procedures to ensure they are consistent, comprehensive and integrated.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services Stuart Ayres said under a PDO, NSW Police retain responsibility for a person's detention even when in the physical custody of Juvenile Justice or Corrective Services NSW.

"Representatives from the NSW Police Force Terrorism Investigation Squad have met with Corrective Services and Juvenile Justice to ensure compliance and consistency across agencies," Mr Ayres said.

"The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government and frontline agencies are vigilant and committed to protecting our community from terrorist acts."