Stronger Police Powers to Tackle Knife Crime

NT Government

The Territory Labor Government is giving NT Police stronger powers to stop and search individuals for knives and other weapons unlawfully possessed in public places.

Amendments proposed to the Police Legislation Further Amendment Bill 2023 will authorise police to use handheld scanners to detect, seize and destroy weapons being carried by individuals. Carrying a controlled weapon without reasonable excuse is an offence which carries a penalty of 12 months imprisonment, this term is double if the offence occurs at night time.

This legislation will be passed on urgency.

These amendments stem from the Government’s review into Bail and Weapons in the Northern Territory, which was released today.

The review was undertaken by an expert panel comprising of NT Police, the Department of the Attorney General and Justice including NT Correctional Services, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities which closely examined data and evidence relating to weapon offending.

Earlier this year Government strengthened presumptions against bail for those involved in violent offences involving a weapon.

The review recommended further changes to the Weapons Control Act 2001, including adding axe into the definition of a ‘controlled weapon’ and clarifying the definition of a knife to include a machete. Violent offences involving these weapons will trigger a presumption against bail.

A range of non-legislative amendments will also get underway including training for judges and DPP on potential risks of defendants on bail, strengthening bail support programs and extra resources to facilitate faster resolutions of court cases.

In addition to all of these actions, an overall Knife Crime Strategy for the Northern Territory is expected to be released this August.

/Public Release. View in full here.