ABC: Parents of teen who died by stabbing in 2019 push for 'wanding' laws to be introduced in NSW

The parents of a teenager who tragically lost his life in a knife attack in 2019, prompting the implementation of "wanding" regulations in Queensland, are advocating for similar measures to be adopted in New South Wales.

Referred to colloquially as "Jack's Law" in honor of the victim, 17-year-old Jack Beasley, these regulations allow police to utilise metal-detecting wands for warrantless searches in specified zones, including certain shopping centers.

Brett Beasley, Jack's father, disclosed to ABC Radio Sydney recently that he spoke with NSW Police Minister Yasmin Catley last year regarding the adoption of Jack's Law in NSW.

NSW Police Minister Yasmin Catley has confirmed that senior members within the government are currently discussing implementation of knife laws.

According to Xanthe Mallett, a Criminology Professor at the University of Newcastle, implementing wanding powers or enforcing stricter penalties for knife offenses would have likely had little impact on the Bondi Junction or Wakeley church attacks. 

"None of that would have impacted either crime," she said. 

Mallett pointed out that the Bondi attacker, Joel Cauchi, did not fit the profile of individuals subject to stop and search measures, nor did he exhibit behavior that would have necessarily drawn police attention.

"Certainly no fine or risk of prison sentence would have had any kind of effect in putting him off," she said. 

"He was fully intent to go and cause as much harm as he did and when those are the circumstances it is incredibly difficult to predict that behaviour and stop it before it happens."

Civil liberties groups are also concerned about the unintended consequences giving police greater search powers. 

Lydia Shelly president of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties has said prevention will be achieved with better mental health support. 

"The research tells us when police have additional powers, especially around search powers, that there's a disproportionate impact on First Nations children and on homeless people," she said. 

"There is not a knife crisis in NSW, there's a mental health crisis and that's what we need to be talking about."

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