New laws will allow NSW Police to detain and question terrorism suspects for up to 14 days, Premier Mike Baird and Deputy Premier Troy Grant announced today.
The Terrorism (Police Powers) Amendment (Investigative Detention) Bill 2016 will be introduced to NSW Parliament this afternoon.
“We have to do everything possible to protect our community from terrorist threats and these new powers do exactly that, by giving our police the ability to properly investigate terrorist plots,” Mr Baird said.
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;
- 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;
- Allow 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;
- Establish a mechanism to protect sensitive criminal intelligence relied upon by police to make detention applications; and
- Prevent the arrest or detention under this scheme of anyone aged under 14 and ensure appropriate protections for detained individuals, in particular those under 18.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Justice and Police Troy Grant said the changes have 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.
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.