- The Criminal Law (Unlawful Consorting) Bill 2019 to be introduced into State Parliament next month
- New offence of unlawful consorting will attract a maximum five-year jail term
- Effective consorting laws will make it harder for convicted offenders to engage in planned criminal activity
Western Australia could soon have the toughest anti-consorting laws in the country, which can be used by police to disrupt and restrict serious and organised crime.
The Criminal Law (Unlawful Consorting) Bill 2019 (the Bill) implements the McGowan Government's commitment to fight organised crime in WA by disrupting communication and networking between convicted offenders.
The proposed laws will provide WA Police with the power to issue an unlawful consorting notice, which may result in prosecution if the person who is issued the notice consorts with a person with whom they are not to consort on two or more occasions during the three-year period that the notice is in force.
A person found guilty of the new unlawful consorting offence will face up to five years' imprisonment.
Comments attributed to Attorney General John Quigley:
"The operation of organised crime and criminal gangs has been a growing concern for many years in WA.
"The former Liberal National Government failed dismally in its efforts to stem the problem. Their laws have never been used by WA Police in seven years and they never will be.
"The McGowan Government is serious about stopping the expansion of serious organised crime and criminal groups in WA once and for all.
"I considered the most effective legislative elements from other Australian jurisdictions to ensure we come up with the best approach to tackling the problem in WA, and we have.
"Our laws focus on ensuring that convicted offenders, including paedophiles and drug traffickers, are not mixing in a criminal milieu or establishing, using or building up organised criminal networks.
"Importantly, our proposed laws include explicit safeguards including oversight from the Ombudsman to ensure that new police powers are used appropriately and marginalised people in the community are not unfairly targeted."
Comments attributed to Police Minister Michelle Roberts:
"Outlaw motorcycle gangs and organised crime networks are the perpetrators of misery in our community.
"They are the principal dealers of drugs, which are destroying our youth and bringing so much agony to the community.
"Members and associates of these gangs have also been responsible for some horrendous crimes.
"Our police have made a sustained effort in recent times to disrupt their activities.
"The McGowan Government is determined to break the backs of these criminal networks and we are giving our police the powers to further hinder and restrict their illegal activities.
"This is about sending a strong message to those thinking to expand their networks into our State, that their criminal activities will not be tolerated."
Attorney General's office - 6552 6800
Police Minister's office - 6552 6900