The premier has announced new police powers and ‘tougher penalties’ for money laundering and unexplained wealth in NSW.
A media release sent Thursday said the reforms were the ‘toughest ever’ to target organised crime in the state.
They included more police powers to confiscate unexplained wealth and stronger penalties for money laundering.
Premier Dominic Perrottet said the government wants to ‘strike organised crime networks at their financial base.’
The reforms announced on Thursday included:
- new powers to confiscate unlawfully acquired assets of major convicted drug traffickers;
- enhanced powers to target and confiscate unexplained wealth from criminal gangs;
- expanded powers to stop and search for unexplained wealth and more effectively investigate organised crime;
- new prohibition orders to target high-risk individuals likely to use dedicated encrypted devices to avoid law enforcement.
More powers against encryption
‘Organised crime is all about drug supply and money – and to truly shut it down we need to shut down the flow of dollars that fuels it,’ Mr Perrottet said in the release.
‘World-leading’ laws targeting the use of dedicated encrypted communication devices by criminals are to be introduced as part of the new reforms, Mr Perrotet said, arguing that organised crime and associated technologies were evolving.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Police Paul Toole said possession of ‘these kinds of devices’ would become an offence.
The new laws would enable police to infiltrate organised criminal networks despite encryption technology, Mr Toole said,
‘Organised crime in this state is on notice,’ the deputy premier said, ‘if you think you can hide the ill-gotten gains of crime, you are wrong’.
‘If you think you can avoid detection by using encrypted devices, you are wrong,’ Mr Toole added.
Police welcome changes
Acting Commissioner David Hudson said the reforms would significantly assist police in the fight against organised crime.
‘These networks go to great lengths to hide from the eyes of law enforcement,’ Acting Commissioner Hudson said, ‘but we intend to use every power possible to fully investigate those suspected of serious crimes and put a stop to their activity’.
‘Today’s announcement will significantly increase our ability to target every element of these criminal networks – including the wealth and assets gained from their illegal activities – to keep the broader community safe,’ Acting Commissioner Hudson said.
The new laws are to be introduced when NSW Parliament returns for the Spring session.