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New police laws - simpler, clearer and more effective

Issued: Wednesday, 18 June 2014
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The NSW Parliament has today passed new laws giving frontline police clearer and more effective powers to protect the public.

Attorney General Brad Hazzard and Police and Emergency Services Minister Stuart Ayres said the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Amendment Act 2014clarifies and simplifies complex police powers, helping police get on with the job of keeping the community safe.

“The NSW Government is committed to supporting police and making the difficult job of policing easier for the men and women of the NSW Police Force,” Mr Hazzard said.

“This new legislation strikes the right balance between ensuring police can do their job safely and efficiently while providing appropriate safeguards for the community.

“Police told us the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 (LEPRA)was too complex, which is why we have now made it easier for police to get it right.”

Mr Ayres said the new legislation implements key recommendations made by former MPs Paul Whelan and Andrew Tink in an independent review of LEPRA last year.

It also includes reforms put forward by a statutory review that was completed in 2013.

“These common sense reforms will mean the laws will work better for frontline police in their job of protecting the community,” Mr Ayres said.

Reforms include:

  • clarifying safeguards for people under arrest and suspects attending voluntarily;
  • simplifying procedures for police to give information when exercising powers;
  • reviewing police training materials regarding the use of force;
  • clarifying search powers and crime scene powers;
  • collecting data on the use of drug detection dogs and a review of police guidelines for searching and detaining a person during drug dog operations;
  • and establishing a code of practice on move-on powers, including the rights of citizens and police powers.

“This overhaul of the law was long overdue and reflects the realities of policing in the 21st Century,” Mr Ayres said.