December 12, 2017

Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) is concerned about the potential implications of the new expanded police powers under the Crimes (Police Powers and Firearms Offence) Amendment Bill 2017 which recently passed in the Australian Capital Territory.

The Act has created a new offence of “drive by shootings” and will expand police powers by allowing entry of a person’s home without a warrant for minor crimes such as shoplifting. Currently a person’s home can only be entered with a warrant, where a dangerous situation exists or where the person has given their permission.

ALHR ACT Convenor Sangeeta Sharmin said, “ALHR is concerned that these powers create the potential for misuse and exceed what is necessary to achieve their initial stated purpose of deterring drive-by shooting crimes and bikie related activities.”

“Similar legislation in other States and Territories contain safeguards such as a higher offence threshold depending on the crime scene, preliminary requirements before a crime scene can be established and a maximum time for which the warrant can last. The ACT legislation appears to lack these”

“It is worrying that this Act ignores long standing civil protections and we fear it violates ACT resident’s right to privacy and to feel secure in their homes. ALHR agree that police should have sufficient powers to investigate violent and dangerous behaviour however care must be taken not to implement a disproportionate answer to bikie related crime, particularly one which limits unnecessarily the right to privacy, right to freedom of movement and right to protection of family and children.

Contact: Matt Mitchell, ALHR media manager 0431 980 365.