State Government Going Overboard with Kids and Knives Searches

MEDIA RELEASE    

Friday, 28 May 2010

SMART JUSTICE SAYS GOVERNMENT GOING OVERBOARD WITH KIDS AND KNIVES SEARCHES

The Government is going overboard by taking away human rights of children and those with intellectual disabilities in its crack down on knife crime, according to Smart Justice.

Smart Justice spokesman, Hugh de Kretser, said the Government had gone too far with the Control of Weapons Amendment Bill in State Parliament this week.

“There are several draconian measures in the Bill. The most concerning is the removal of the requirement for an independent third person to assist young people or people with intellectual disabilities when they are searched by the police.”

“That person can now just be another police officer, which we do not think will provide sufficient reassurance or protection to young people or people with disabilities,” Mr de Kretser said.

Mr de Kretser said the police had expressed concern about the delays in finding an independent third person.

“We do not think this is sufficient reason for abandoning the rights of children and disabled people,” he said.

Other negative features of the Bill include:

•     Removing the requirements for police to maintain records of people searched

•     Extending surprise knife searches to areas such as train stations

“I think all parents should be concerned about the possibility of their child being stopped, questioned by the police and searched as they go about their lawful business, even going to and from school,” Mr de Kretser said.

“And those with intellectual disabilities should continue to have the right to independent assistance if they are to be subject to random and intrusive searches in public places,” Mr de Kretser said.

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