New measures to get knives off the street and boost community safety



Chris Minns

Premier of New South Wales


Yasmin Catley

Minister for Police and Counter-terrorism

Minister for the Hunter


Michael Daley

Attorney General



New measures to get knives off the street and boost community safety


The NSW Government is today announcing a package of commonsense reforms to target possession of knives, particularly among young people, reduce knife crime and boost community safety.


The Government will:


  1. Develop legislation modelled on Queensland’s Jack’s Law which will give Police powers to “wand” or “scan” people for knives without a warrant in designated areas, including transport hubs, shopping centres and other crowded places.
    1. These powers will be made available in circumstances where a relevant weapons offence/knife crime has occurred within the past six months;
    2. An authority can then be issued by Police, enabling them to “wand” or “scan” people; and
    3. The authority will last for 12 hours, with an option to extend as required.
  2. Make it illegal to sell knives to a child under the age of 18, with provisions for exemptions for retailers selling to young people who need a knife for their work or study.
  3. Increase penalties for people selling knives to young people under the age of 18.


The package of reforms will help address knife-related crime, get knives off streets and keep the community safer.


The new “wanding” laws will be based on Jack’s Law and adapted for the NSW context with details being finalised ahead of legislation to be introduced to Parliament.


Their aim will be to keep the community safe, targeting areas where there have been increasing issues related to knife crime or knife possession offences, which could be on public transport, nightlife, entertainment, or shopping precincts.


The reforms build upon responsible action taken by the NSW Government including:


  1. Doubling of the maximum penalties for various knife related offences in 2023.
  2. The review by the NSW Sentencing Council into of sentencing for firearms, knives, and other weapons offences.
  3. Ongoing high impact NSW Police operations such as “Operation Foil” – an ongoing, targeted operation which last ran from 11–13 April 2024. It targets knife crime and anti-social behaviour with 51 knives/weapons seized and 145 people charged with weapon-related offences.  In the last year alone almost 4,000 knives were seized in public places.


The reforms send a strong message about the seriousness of knife related violence and the NSW Government’s commitment to take immediate proactive steps to prevent future tragedies, while also addressing longer term challenges such as serious mental health issues and the broader incidence of violent crime.


Premier Chris Minns said:


“In recent weeks and months, we have all borne witness to the devastating outcomes of knife related violence.


“I know that many in our community have followed the devastating media coverage and heard the stories of victims and families – tragically there have been so many recent examples.


“Our communities are still in mourning, but it’s essential that we step up to take immediate action to send a clear message that NSW will simply not accept these kinds of crimes.


“Today we are announcing reform including legislation modelled on new powers for Police to search and detect knives in public spaces, based on Queensland’s Jack’s Law, and a commonsense increase to the age limit for purchasing knives from 16 to 18 to make it harder for children to get access to these deadly weapons.”


Minister for the Police and Counter-terrorism Yasmin Catley said:


“This sends a strong signal that we are committed to tackling violent knife crime in our community.


“These reforms send a strong warning to would-be perpetrators.


“I want to thank Mr and Mrs Beasley and our colleagues in the Queensland Government for working with us to share their experiences and their knowledge in regard to Jack’s Law.


“No parent should go through what the Beasleys and many other families have gone through. No life should be cut short by violent crime.


“We’ll be looking at how these strategies work in a NSW context. Strategies that we know are making a difference in Queensland.


“These reforms will give police improved tools to quickly detect concealed knives and take action before a potential perpetrator has the chance to use them.


“These reforms are about keeping people safe. I want the community to have the confidence that this government is committed to giving the NSW Police Force all the tools required to combat violent crime.”


Attorney General Michael Daley said:


“These changes increase police powers, toughen penalties and send a clear signal that it is not okay to carry a knife.


“There are too many young people who think it is okay to put a knife into their pocket to carry out their daily business. The worrying thing is that, if they are open to carrying it, then they are probably open to using it. We want people to stop carrying knives, to leave them at home and to stop using them.”