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14 December, 2005

over-powered NSW Police?

NSW Police are to gain more power over this Sydney riots.

Under the laws, police will be able to lock down parts of Sydney and search and confiscate vehicles – measures aimed at ending night-time "smash and bash" raids by carloads of young men.

Mr Scully today said police also would be able to confiscate mobile phones.


(source)

updated

Under the new laws, the police can
- search people at random
- prevent people from entering or leaving a locked down area
- legally compel you to prove your name and address
- confiscate all alcohol, mobile telephones and cars
(source)
New South Wales Police now has the power to “confiscate mobile phones”. The NSW Government gave police such unnecessary power. If you are not happy about those, complain to your local MP.

If you are interested in the detail of the law, please see NSW Law Enforcement Legislation Amendment (Public Safety) Bill 2005 (PDF)

Nobody goes in, no-one comes out (News.com.au, 14 Dec 2005)

POLICE locked down Sydney's Sutherland Shire last night to keep invading hooligans out - and to contain local thugs preparing to cause trouble.

Two squad cars were stationed at each of the five main arterial roads into Cronulla shortly after 9pm.

They covered the Captain Cook Bridge, Tom Ugly's Bridge, New Illawarra Rd and Alfords Point Bridge. Others were posted between Heathcote Rd and the Old Princes Highway.

Drivers had to show licences and give a reason for entering the Shire.

Japanese businessmen Shunji Miyahara, 40, was one of those singled out at the road blocks after revealing he was not a Cronulla resident.

He looked perplexed as police helped him sort through papers to indicate where he was going, saying he had visited Australia up to 30 times and had never seen such tension.

"Everything is lovely here, I don't know why you have this," he said.

"I don't understand, the Lebanese here and the Australians here, both are Australians, aren't they?"

Cop numbers increased for weekend (News.com.au, 14 Dec 2005)

MORE unrest is expected in Sydney and hundreds more police will be on duty this weekend on top of 450 extra officers patrolling the city for the rest of the week, New South Wales Police Minister Carl Scully said today.

An already heavy police presence would be increased this weekend, as text messages encouraging unrest continued to circulate, Mr Scully said. Last night was relatively calm, following two consecutive nights of race-fuelled violence, but he said the job for police was not finished.
Asked if more trouble was anticipated this weekend, the minister said: "We expect further problems".

He said police were prepared and were taking seriously a new round of text messages encouraging unrest.

" ... some of them are crying wolf, they're false, they're hoaxes. But some of them, we think, have credibility and we need to be aware that there is a risk of incidents continuing," Mr Scully said.

"On the weekend, there will be a huge police presence across Sydney on Saturday and Sunday, and there will be a large police presence over the next few night.

"We had more than 400 cops last night. Expect hundreds on top of that on Saturday and Sunday."
Mr Scully said new police powers to be passed on Thursday during a special sitting of State Parliament would be powerful weapons for police.

Under the laws, police will be able to lock down parts of Sydney and search and confiscate vehicles – measures aimed at ending night-time "smash and bash" raids by carloads of young men.

Mr Scully today said police also would be able to confiscate mobile phones.

"These characters are using their cars and mobile phones to conduct convoys with intent and they are getting a very strong message," he said.

"They love their cars and their phones and they're going to have them taken off them."

Mr Scully agreed that many arrested over the Sydney violence had been freed on bail and were quickly back on the street.

That was why police had sought changes to remove the presumption of bail for offences including riot and affray.

"We believe a number of offences should have a presumption against bail – obviously affray and riot," he said.

But he said offences arising following the use of the new police powers would also have an assumption against bail.

"The premier and I have made a decision that the extension of presumption against bail will include offences that have occurred where the police have used these extra powers," Mr Scully said.

"So if alcohol has been banned, or a temporary alcohol prohibition zone, or lockdown, or confiscation of cars – and following that people engage in hindering or resisting police or offensive behaviour or assault or anything of that nature that arises following use of these powers – there will be a presumption against bail.

"If these characters don't get the message, and they continue these public disorder actions, they'll be locked up."

He said such offenders could argue for bail in court, but would have to demonstrate special circumstances for that to be granted.

Posted by Antony on 14 December 2005 2:38 PM | newstalk

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