On 18 March 2020, the Governor-General declared a “human biosecurity emergency” under the Biosecurity Act 2015 (Cth). This is the first time the special measures for managing biosecurity risks under the Biosecurity Act have been invoked.

At around June this year, just when people started to get use to the year long Covid-19 outbreak, NSW reported double digit rises for 3 straight days because of a spread of the highly contagious Delta variant, at around August, an daily increase of 200 to 300 was recorded daily.

Data indicate that the Delta variant is 40% to 60% more transmissible than the previous Alpha variant and almost twice as transmissible as the original Wuhan strain of SARS-CoV-2. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian stated, “Since the pandemic has started, this is perhaps the scariest period that New South Wales is going through”.

As a result, tougher restrictions were put in place to further limit the movement and gathering of public, hoping to decrease the number of community transmission of the Delta variant.

To enforce the newly updated public heath order, NSW police have been handed greater power against those not complying with public health orders.

To view the latest Public Heath Orders and Restrictions, click here.

This blog lists out the Police’s power of entry into your premises/house and compares the police power of entry before and after the Covid-19 outbreak.

Police’s power of entry

The ‘power of entry’ of police lies in Part 2 of the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 (NSW) (The Act).

Under section 10 of The Act, it is stated that a police may enter and stay for a reasonable time on premises to arrest a person, or detain a person under an Act, or arrest a person named in a warrant. If they decided to enter, they have to prove on reasonable grounds that they genuinely believed the person to be arrested or detained is in the house.

Generally speaking, police cannot enter your house without your presence, unless a covert search warrant is issued by a Supreme Court judge, in regrading to a ‘serious offence’ that carries a penalty of at least 7 years in jail.

Under section 9(1) of The Act, A police may enter your premises if the police believes on reasonable grounds that

  • a breach of the peace is being or is likely to be committed and it is necessary to enter the premises immediately to end or prevent the breach of peace.
  • You have suffered significant physical injury or there is imminent danger of significant physical injury to you, that would be necessary for them to enter your premise to prevent the mentioned significant physical injury.
  • The occupier of the premise is dead, and there is no other occupier to seek consent of entry.

Additional power given to the police

Under the latest Public Health Orders 2021, dated 26/07/2021. There are gains in police power, such as if you are leaving your LGA for work, and got stopped by the police on the way, you must produce evidence for inspection if requested by a police officer, evidence type can include–

  • evidence showing the address of the person’s place of residence or temporary accommodation; and
  • your proof of residence.

If you work in a construction site,

  • has had 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, or
  • has had 1 dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at least 21 days ago, or
  • has had 1 dose of a COVID-19 vaccine within the preceding 21 days and has been tested for COVID-19 within the preceding 72 hours, or
  • has a certified medical contraindication and has been tested for COVID-19 within the preceding 72 hours.

Police power of entry during lockdown

Under the special COVID-19 Public Health Orders, police can still enter your home without a warrant like before, provided that the grounds of entry are met. Or if they believe that you are gathering in a way in breach of the latest Public Health orders.

The latest Public Health orders is currently at –

  • each adult member of a household must not allow more than 5 visitors to be at the place of residence of the household at any one time.

person who are not considered visitors –

  • to engage in work;
  • for childcare;
  • to fulfill care’s responsibility;
  • to provide personal care to vulnerable person;
  • to avoid an injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm;
  • to assist a person moving to or from the place of residence;
  • emergencies, or compassionate reasons;
  • to view or inspect real property for sale or lease or participate in an auction of real property; and
  • to attend a significant event.

Possible defences

If you are charged with in breach of the latest Public Health Orders, of exceeding the number of visitors at your place of residence, feel free to contact National Criminal Lawyers® for a free consultation regarding to your defence.

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