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Greens respond to expanded police search powers

The Greens will oppose new laws to expand a trial of handheld scanner use by police to all safe night precincts and public transport, after an independent review found the increased powers didn't deter or reduce knife crime, were being unevenly applied to different groups in the community, and were being used to bypass 'reasonable suspicion' requirements and charge people with non-violent drug offences. 

Michael Berkman: 

“The government is misleading Queenslanders with the false promise of improved safety, despite clear evidence that their laws didn’t do what they were supposed to. 

“I think it’s incredibly cynical of the minister to skim over the findings from this review while chasing a media splash about extending this failed program. 

“It’s clear as day: there is no evidence these new wanding powers deter people from carrying knives or reduce violent crime.

“I’m shocked by some of the interviews with police officers, including openly admitting they use these laws to bypass ‘reasonable suspicion’ requirements and charge people with unrelated offences, or to target ‘people of certain ethnic backgrounds’.

“Experts repeatedly warned the government that these powers could be misused to search people without suspicion then charge them for non-violent offences like possession of drugs, and they were right.

“These wands have been more successful at criminalising drug users than stopping knife crime. They don’t improve safety - in fact, they’re pushing more people into the criminal legal system when we should be focusing on health-based responses to drug use. 

“If the government goes ahead with this they are completely ignoring all the experts and the evidence. They’re selling Queensland families more lies because they’re not willing to face facts themselves.” 

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