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Knife crackdown goes too far
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Knife crackdown goes too far

The Government's crackdown on knife crime is an extreme reaction which jeopardises human rights, according to a coalition of community and legal organisations.The new Victoria-based…

The Government's crackdown on knife crime is an extreme reaction which jeopardises human rights, according to a coalition of community and legal organisations.

The new Victoria-based organisation, Smart Justice, said the Government has taken too many liberties with the Control of Weapons Amendment Bill tabled in State Parliament last week.

In particular, the group is concerned that the rights of children, and those with intellectual disabilities, will be at risk under the new laws.

"There are several draconian measures in the Bill," said Smart Justice spokesperson Hugh de Kretser.

"The most concerning is the removal of the requirement for an independent third person to assist young people or people with intellectual disabilities when they are searched by the police. That person can now just be another police officer, which we do not think will provide sufficient reassurance or protection to young people or people with disabilities."

De Kretser said police had previously expressed concern about delays in finding an independent third person, prompting the changes.

"We do not think this is sufficient reason for abandoning the rights of children and disabled people," he said.

According to de Kretser, other negative features of the Bill include the removal of the requirement for police to maintain records of people searched, and the extending of surprise knife searches to areas such as train stations

"I think all parents should be concerned about the possibility of their child being stopped, questioned by the police and searched as they go about their lawful business, even going to and from school," said de Kretser.

"And those with intellectual disabilities should continue to have the right to independent assistance if they are to be subject to random and intrusive searches in public places."

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