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'Biggest investment in policing’ in over 30 years: QLD Police cop new surveillance powers

by Angel Jemmett •
Free resource

More than 20,000 new police personnel will be taken on, including a guaranteed minimum of 150 extra officers for each police region, under what Minister for Police and Corrective Services and Minister for Fire and Emergency Services, Mark Ryan claims is the biggest investment in policing in over thirty years.  

The new personnel will need everything from mobile computing devices through to body worn cameras and secure remote access to policing databases and systems.   Ryan also announced the introduction of the new legislation, allowing evidence hidden on digital devices to be accessed by Qld Police thus significantly enhancing their phone crime investigation powers. A digital access order obtained by Qld Police from a magistrate or Supreme Court judge will require individuals suspected of phone crimes to relinquish their passwords and encryption codes, allowing officers to access any information stored on the suspect’s digital device.  

This law builds on changes to the Criminal Code Act introduced by the Palaszczuk Government in 2018 that criminalised the non-consensual sharing of explicit photos online.  

QLD Police also announced the launch of a ‘world-first’ tool that allows members of the public to directly upload photo and video evidence. The new technology capability is hosted on evidence-collection software Axon Citizen, which was previously utilized by WA Police for body-cam video analysis.  

These significant developments in QLD law enforcement surveillance powers follow the passage of the controversial Federal Surveillance Legislation Amendment (Identify and Disrupt) Bill in early September 2021. It introduced data disruption warrants to allow the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) to modify, add, copy, or delete data in order to disrupt serious online offences. It also enforced account takeover warrants, enabling the AFP and ACIC to supersede suspects’ online accounts to gather evidence.  

The Federal Bill was heavily contested by numerous Senators, councils and organisations, with several calls for it to be withdrawn altogether.  

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