John D'Orazio

John D'Orazio

Former Minister for Police and Emergency Services; Justice; Community Safety

    Changes to pawnbroker and secondhand dealer laws aim to foil burglars

    28/03/2006 4:15 PM

    New laws will help Western Australian Police build on their success in cutting burglary rates, by making it easier to put secondhand dealers and pawnbrokers who trade in stolen goods out of business.

    Police Minister John D’Orazio said the Pawnbrokers and Secondhand Dealers Amendment Bill 2005, which would be debated in State Parliament today, contained significant changes to the original 1994 legislation.

    Mr D’Orazio said the changes would also make it easier for legitimate operators to go about their business.

    “We want to make it harder for burglars to sell their stolen goods and increase the chance of catching them,” the Minister said.

    “One way of achieving this is by making it much riskier for ‘fences’ to do business.”

    Mr D’Orazio said significant changes included:
    • closing loopholes which allowed some operators who traded in secondhand/pawned goods to avoid complying with the law;
    • making it easier for the public to identify licensed operators, by requiring that licence numbers were displayed;
    • ensuring that pawned goods were retained in the store in which they were pawned; and
    • tightening requirements for licensees recording transactions and identifying secondhand property.
    The Minister said that there were also changes that would reduce pressure on legitimate pawnbrokers and secondhand dealers. These included:
    • providing standard conditions and restrictions to apply to all licensees covered by the laws;
    • enabling police to fine licensees who breached their conditions or restrictions - previously the only options were court proceedings or cancelling licences;
    • giving police up to 90 days to issue infringement notices - up from 21 days - which would reduce the need for licensees to attend court hearings; and
    • allowing licensees to use digital images rather than photographs to identify their clients.
    “These changes recognise that secondhand dealers and pawnbrokers play an important role in our community,” Mr D’Orazio said.

    “At the same time, they must not become part of a criminal economy which costs the community heavily and causes real hardship and hurt to the victims of these crimes.”

    Minister's office: 9213 7150