‘Anywhere, anytime’ knife scan laws to protect community

  • Toughest knife laws in country to protect Western Australians
  • Knife Wanding Areas (KWAs) will allow officers to scan for dangerous weapons without reasonable suspicion
  • New and harsher penalties to deter and hold offenders to account
  • Legislation inspired by Queensland’s ‘Jack’s Law’

The Cook Government will introduce the toughest knife laws in the country, giving the WA Police Force greater powers to locate knives and other concealed weapons better protecting the Western Australian community.

Using hand-held metal detectors known as ‘wands’, officers will be able to carry out non-invasive scans of people anywhere, anytime within a specified Knife Wanding Area.

WA’s Protected Entertainment Precincts (PEPs) will be established as permanent KWAs enabling officers to rapidly search for hidden knives and other dangerous items.

Senior WA Police Officers, ranked inspector or above, will also have the ability to declare KWAs in any public place such as shopping centres, bus stops, train stations, and sporting, community or entertainment events.

Short-term KWAs will be enforced for up to 12 hours, with the potential to be renewed as operationally required.

The Knife Wanding Area framework was inspired by Queensland legislation known as ‘Jack’s Law’, named in memory of 17-year-old Jack Beasley, who was fatally stabbed on the Gold Coast in 2019.

WA’s proposed changes include a new ‘edged weapon’ offence, which increases penalties for the illegal possession of bladed weapons to a maximum of three years imprisonment and fine of $36,000.

‘Lawful excuse’ safeguards will protect a person who has a legitimate reason for carrying a knife from prosecution. Possession for self-defence is not considered a lawful excuse.

Anyone caught selling an edged weapon to a person under the age of 18 will also face a higher penalty of up to three years behind bars and $36,000 fine.

Stricter penalties for ‘prohibited weapons’ such as ballistic knives and knuckle knives will also be introduced, increasing from three years imprisonment and $36,000 fine to five years imprisonment and a fine of $60,000.

Any person who refuses to undergo a wanding scan, or refuses to produce the object when requested, will commit an offence. This offence will have a penalty of up to 12 months jail and/or fine of up to $12,000.

As stated by Premier Roger Cook:

“My Government is serious about tackling the threat of knife crime to better protect Western Australians.

“We’ve seen the devastating outcomes – both here and in other parts of the country – that can eventuate when people choose to act outside the law.

“These proactive laws and tougher penalties send a clear message to anyone considering carrying a knife, or similar dangerous weapon, in our community. The illegal possession of knives won’t be tolerated and the chances of you getting caught are increasing.”

As stated by Police Minister Paul Papalia:

“Knife Wanding Areas and the associated powers will ensure WA Police Officers are far better equipped to detect, deter and reduce the illegal use of knives in Western Australia.

“Our police already do an incredible job identifying and locating offenders who use knives to commit crimes. And soon they’ll have another tool on their belt to help locate and remove these dangerous weapons from people before they can use them to harm the community.

“WA Police can scan you anywhere, anytime a KWA is enabled.

“I want to thank Jack Beasley’s parents, Brett and Belinda, who have passionately advocated for and assisted in the development of this legislation in memory of their son.

“Western Australia will be a safer place because of their determination to improve safety in Jack’s name.”

/Public Release. View in full here.