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Australia Police Get Secret Search Powers

March 5, 2009

Source: Courier Mail

NEW South Wales Police are to be given covert search warrants, allowing them to search a property without informing the owners for up to three years.

The warrants will be issued through the Supreme Court and limited to investigations of suspected serious offences punishable by at least seven years jail.

These offences include the manufacture of drugs, computer crimes, the sale of firearms, homicide and kidnapping.

Premier Nathan Rees said NSW would be the first jurisdiction in Australia to adopt the covert search warrants, and would be borrowing from Commonwealth anti-terrorism legislation.

“If you are a serious criminal in NSW you should not sleep easy,” Mr Rees said.

“These laws will enable our police force to inspect your home without you knowing.”

The new powers will allow for the owners of the covertly searched property to be kept in the dark for up to six months.

However, NSW Police may apply before the court to delay that notification for 18 months, and up to three years in some exceptional circumstances.

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