Weapon search laws extended in $1.2b safety pledge

Fraser Barton |

Belinda and Brett Beasley, parents of stabbing victim Jack, have advocated for “Jack’s Law”.
Belinda and Brett Beasley, parents of stabbing victim Jack, have advocated for “Jack’s Law”.

A weapon search trial that has gained national attention after knife attacks in Sydney is set to be expanded to shops and pubs.

Queensland Premier Steven Miles on Tuesday announced police “wanding” powers in the state would be extended under a raft of proposed laws.

Mr Miles unveiled the extension of “Jack’s Law” as part of a new $1.28 billion community safety plan ahead of the state election in October.

Jack’s Law has gained interstate interest since it was passed in March 2023, four years after the stabbing death of teenager Jack Beasley on the Gold Coast.

It gives Queensland police the right to search people for weapons in safe night precincts and public transport hubs.

Under the latest proposed laws, police will be able to use hand held metal detector “wands” to search people at shopping centres, licensed premises and sporting and entertainment venues.

To date 51,000 Queenslanders have been scanned and more than 500 weapons seized.

It has led to the wanding trial being extended in Queensland until 2026.

Its success has caught the attention of other states after a spate of Sydney knife attacks, with the NSW government considering it and Western Australia also in discussions.

Victims of crime rally in Brisbane.
A victims of crime rally was held outside parliament house in Brisbane. (Jono Searle/AAP PHOTOS)

Mr Miles announced his community safety plan in parliament on Tuesday as a victims of crime rally was held outside.

The premier later emerged to respond to their concerns after about 100 people marched on parliament.

Mr Miles said the safety plan would support victims, deliver for the frontline, detain offenders and provide early intervention.

“This is our plan to chart the path towards a safer Queensland grounded in decisive action,” he said.

The rally featured the family of Vyleen White, a grandmother who was fatally stabbed outside a Brisbane shopping centre in February in a suspected car-jacking.

Cindy Micallef, daughter of stabbing victim Vyleen White
Cindy Micallef, daughter of stabbing victim Vyleen White, wants action on youth crime. (Jono Searle/AAP PHOTOS)

Her daughter Cindy Micallef said youth crime victims were not asking for an eye-for-an-eye.

“We’re asking for adult crime, adult time,” she told the rally.

Victims advocate Trudy Reading said detention as a last resort should be removed from the Youth Justice Act to prioritise the rights of victims over recidivist young offenders.

“There’s something wrong if they’re in our houses at 3am in the morning,” she told AAP.

“Remove them from society, assess them and rehabilitate them – that’s what we’re asking for.

“We’re not asking for anything barbaric. We’re not asking for anything that is not a humane and reasonable request.”

Mr Miles met privately with crime victims for about 30 minutes after what was the group’s third rally at parliament.

His safety plan also proposes the expansion of an electronic GPS monitoring devices trial for young offenders, making the deliberate ramming of an emergency vehicle a stand alone offence and improving access to Children’s Court matters for victims, their families and the media.

“This is a comprehensive plan rooted in decisive action, not just a slick slogan,” Mr Miles said.