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Review of the Police Powers (Internally Concealed Drugs) Act 2001

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2005
59 pages
This report presents an account of the monitoring activities and recommendations by the New South Wales (NSW) Ombudsman in relation to the implementation and operation of the Police Powers (Internally Concealed Drugs) Act 2001.
Per the review and monitoring by the New South Wales (NSW) Ombudsman, the Police Powers (Internally Concealed Drugs) Act 2001 was found not to be meeting its objectives. Due to difficulties with the legislation, the legislation has not been implemented more widely. The legislation which provides for the use of medical imaging, such as MRIs, CAT scans and X-rays to search people suspected of internally concealing drugs, has only been used once since the Acts inception. Reasons identified for the difficulties include: (1) industrial issues around the retrieval of evidence from fecal matter; (2) concerns about the capacity of medical imaging to identify internally concealed drugs; and (3) the costs associated with the legislation such as the cost of scanning and detention at a hospital. It is recommended that Parliament consider whether the Act should remain in force and if it does remain in force, it should be subject to further monitoring in regards to areas of identified concern which include: the impact on children, on people incapable of understanding or consent to a search, and on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This report from the NSW Ombudsman presents a review of the Police Powers (Internally Concealed Drugs) Act 2001 to determine whether its policy objectives remain valid and if the terms of the Act remain appropriate for securing those objectives.