Thursday, 5 May 2016
MEMBER for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall has welcomed new laws that will allow NSW Police to detain and question terrorism suspects for up to 14 days.
The Terrorism (Police Powers) Amendment (Investigative Detention) Bill 2016 was introduced by Premier Mike Baird yesterday in State Parliament.
The Bill will allow NSW Police to arrest and detain a person for up to four days, with a review by a senior police officer every 12 hours, if there are reasonable grounds for suspecting the person has committed a terrorist act in the past 28 days or is involved in planning one that could occur in the next 14 days.
It will also enable questioning of a detained terrorism suspect about a terrorist act that occurred within the last 28 days or that could occur in the next 14 days.
Additionally, the Bill provides for:
- A Supreme Court Judge to extend the detention beyond the initial period in increments of seven days, up to a total 14 days, on consideration of factors including that the detention will substantially assist in responding to or preventing a terrorist attack;
- The establishment of a mechanism to protect sensitive criminal intelligence relied upon by police to make detention applications; and
- The prevention of the arrest or detention under the scheme of anyone aged under 14 and ensure appropriate protections for detained individuals, in particular those under 18.
Mr Marshall said the changes had the strong support of police, who were concerned that existing laws prohibited questioning under NSW preventative detention orders of up to 14 days, while Commonwealth laws did not allow enough time to question a terrorist suspect in custody.
“The terrorist threat has become more fast-moving and unpredictable and we need to have the powers to respond quickly and effectively,” he said.
“We have to do all that we can to protect our community from terrorist threats and these new powers achieve that by giving our Police the ability to properly investigate terrorist plots.”
The Bill is modelled on a similar United Kingdom scheme that allows a court to impose up to 14 days detention with questioning.
It follows in-principle agreement last month at the Council of Australian Governments that the proposed NSW model for an investigative detention scheme for terrorist suspects would be used as a basis for a nationally consistent model, and that NSW would introduce its legislation and consult with other jurisdictions.