Posted on 23. Aug, 2010 in News

People caught illegally carrying knives or other controlled weapons face a $1000 on-the-spot fine from today as Australia’s toughest anti-weapons laws get even tougher.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services Bob Cameron said the new laws would give Victoria Police greater powers to search for knives, and issue hefty penalties for illegally carrying controlled weapons.

“The Brumby Labor Government is committed to taking these illegal and potentially deadly weapons off our streets to help further protect communities,” Mr Cameron said.

“Victoria already has the toughest anti-knife laws in Australia – and from today we will see more random weapons searches, hefty on-the-spot penalties and fewer knives on the street.

From today, anyone 16 or older caught carrying a controlled weapon without a lawful excuse faces a $1000 on-the-spot fine. The penalties are doubled in and around pubs, clubs and bars. Children under 16 caught carrying controlled weapons without a lawful excuse will face court.

The new powers also give Victoria Police even stronger powers to designate a public area such as a train station or other public place for a random weapons search without notice.

Heavy penalties will apply to any person who sells a prohibited weapon, such as a dagger or sword, to a person under 18 and children and young people will face court and fines of up to $2986 if they purchase any of these very deadly weapons.

From January 1, 2011, the sale of knives and other controlled weapons to people under 18 will be banned, with children and young people caught trying to buy such weapons facing a $239 on-the-spot fine and retailers caught selling them to persons under 18 facing fines of up to $2389.

To coincide with the laws coming into effect, Mr Cameron also launched an advertising campaign warning Victorians of the risks of carrying knives and highlighting the new penalties.

“The advertising campaign is supported by partnerships with organisations as diverse as the Collingwood Football Club, Mushroom Records and the Salvation Army. We are involving young people and giving them a say in spreading the message to not carry knives,” he said.

Mr Cameron said the campaign was about ensuring people know that knives are not defensive weapons, but are offensive weapons that could be used on them.

“All our new laws and measures are providing police with the powers they need to protect the public by removing troublemakers from the street before someone gets hurt,” he said.

“We also recently doubled on-the-spot-fines for offences relating to drunken and disorderly conduct and tripled the amount of time poice can ban someone from a designated area from 24 hours to 72 hours.

“By taking the community with us and boosting police powers and numbers we are getting an immediate message through that troublemakers are not welcome in Victoria.”

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