Since 26 June 2021, New South Wales has been subject to the longest and harshest lockdown the State has experienced since the start of the Pandemic.
While the restrictions and conditions have increased substantially with time, surprisingly, so have the powers that have purportedly been given to the NSW Police Force.
Never before has the State of New South Wales, experienced such a large and unchecked increase in police powers. Unsurprisingly, many now referring to it as a “police state” with the Premier at the whims and desires of the Police Commissioner.
While some may not see the concern that such overarching police powers have, the reality is that such powers can and will be exploited and often they are exploited against the most marginalised members of the community.
According to the latest Public Health Order, police have purportedly been given the power to:
- Stop and ask any person for their identity without any suspicion that the person has done something wrong.
- Ask a person for their medical documents including vaccination status, covid test results, and mask exemptions.
- Ask a person for proof of their employment.
- Request a person to go home.
The question however remains, are these powers lawful?