Police roll out knife-detector wands in Moreton Bay

Published 2:00pm 11 May 2023

Police roll out knife-detector wands in Moreton Bay
Words by Jodie Powell

Police across the Moreton Bay Region are turning the heat up on knife crime, with operations to detect the illegal weapons starting in coming weeks and a new education program in 10 local schools.

Moreton District Superintendent John Hallam says hand-held metal detector wands were delivered to North Lakes Police Station last week, enabling officers to exercise new powers outlined in Jack’s Law, which passed in State Parliament earlier this year.

Following the stabbing death of 17-year-old Jack Beasley in 2019, legislation was introduced in 2021 for police to trial the metal detectors to uncover knives in Safe Night Precincts on the Gold Coast.

Targeting transport corridors

The successful trial has led to the program being rolled out across the state at Safe Night Precincts, on public transport and at public transport hubs as part of authorised operations.

“Moreton Bay doesn’t have a Safe Night Precinct, but obviously we have extensive transport corridors,” Supt Hallam says.

“This law is not based on suspicion, it’s based on location and previous offences.

“That’s important because people might say we are targeting people but we are targeting a location.

“We will start operations over coming weeks with wands where we can stop anybody and wand them.

“Having wands gives police an extra tool to prevent knife crime - it’s about creating a safer community.”

Supt Hallam says there were thousands of offences related to knife crimes across Queensland in the 2021-22 financial year.

“Knife crime is a problem everywhere – we had 11 homicides in Queensland and over 3200 offences related to knives in the financial year – 3200 is too many.”

Educating young people

Police roll out knife-detector wands in Moreton Bay

Supt Hallam says by working with Education Queensland at 10 schools across the district police can share information about the dangers of carrying a knife with young people.

The program follows a campaign in 2021, I Live My Life Without A Knife, which featured a video of former American National Football League player Jesse “Tha Monstar” Williams.

“It’s important that young people think about their choices and don’t make a poor choice that can dramatically change their life and the life of others,” he says.

“Our education program is making sure they are better equipped to make the right choices.”

Education Queensland learning leader for guidance and wellbeing services Katrina Clarry says the program, which is accompanied by a powerful educational video featuring a trauma surgeon and the parents of three boys who died after being stabbed, dispels myths around carrying knives.

Ruining lives

“Research shows that in 60 percent of cases kids carry a knife because they feel it’s going to provide them with protection and safety,” Katrina says.

“Thirty percent carry it for notoriety or to feel tough and 10 percent carry it to commit an offence.

“The 90 percent of kids we can reach out to through education – it’s that hand-in-hand approach with police.

“The messaging is really clear in the video that carrying a knife is never a good option.

“It ruins so many lives.”

Devastating legacy

Police roll out knife-detector wands in Moreton Bay

Acting Senior-Sergeant Sarah Grayson says carrying a knife in public and using one can have far-reaching consequences.

“People don’t understand how quickly it can be turned around and used against you,” Sen-Sgt Grayson says.

“It’s not just the person (who is stabbed), it’s the families, emergency services, friends, the wider community.

“We’re trying to stop this happening to anyone else.”

Sen-Sgt Grayson says she’s grateful for the support of the families of Jack Beasley, Angus Beaumont and Balin Stewart, who appear in the video explaining their heartbreak over losing their children to knife crime.

Angus Beaumont’s mum, Michelle Liddle, and dad Ben Beaumont speak of the devastating impact of their son’s death at the age of 15 after he was stabbed at Redcliffe in March, 2020.

“Every life is worth something,” Michelle says.

“They’re somebody’s loved one…that one act changes everything for everyone.”

Watch the video here.

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