Police given ID check powers at airports
PEOPLE acting suspiciously in Australian airports will have to show identification to police under draft laws introduced to federal Parliament.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said the new ID checking powers for Australian Federal Police would give officers the ability to make people leave the airport or ban them from flying for 24 hours if they pose a criminal or security threat.
People who refuse to show ID could also be “moved on” from the airport.
Mr Dutton says airports are one of the greatest targets for terrorism and crime groups for drug trafficking, and current police powers do not go far enough.
“Police at our airports are highly trained in behavioural analysis and threat assessments,” he said.
“However, they don’t currently have the power to check ID unless they can link behaviour to a specific offence.”
Suspicious activity could include taking photos or videos of security check areas, he said.
The minister said the increased powers would also give police the ability to remove bikie gang members from airports for two hours if it was known that an incoming flight had rival gang members.
The legislation would ensure Australian aviation networks were some of the safest in the world, Mr Dutton said, adding that failing to comply with the checks could result in a fine of up to $4200.
Police will have to identify themselves to a person before conducting ID checks.
Officers could use the new powers at major airports including Sydney, Sydney West, Melbourne Tullamarine, Brisbane, Perth, Gold Coast, Hobart, Launceston, Alice Springs, Canberra, Darwin and Townsville.
NEW RULES AROUND GLASSES
It follows a raft of new rules being implemented across Australian airports. Earlier this year it was announced that passengers who wear glasses will have to ditch their specs in new passport photos taken from July 1.
The new rule “further strengthens the integrity of the Australian passport”, the Australian Passport Office said.
“Research has shown that glasses adversely affect passport facial matching. Matching is more accurate without glasses,” the department said.
“A limited exemption for medical reasons may apply where supported by a medical certificate.”
Heads up: glasses will not be allowed in passport photos taken from 1 July 2018. This change further strengthens the integrity of the Australian passport. For more information, visit https://t.co/ONwV8PvEwO #AusPassport pic.twitter.com/b2gOiFyKKG— Smartraveller (@Smartraveller)
The US Department of State banned glasses from passport photos in 2016, after they were found to be the main reason why pictures were rejected.
“(In 2015) more than 200,000 passport customers submitted poor-quality photos which we couldn’t accept,” the department said.
NEW RULES AROUND POWDERS
Meanwhile, from June 30, the Government began enforcing new limits on how much powder product you can pack in carry-on baggage on international flights and tougher screening at airport security.
Now, as with liquids, aerosols and gels, powders will need to be presented separately.
In terms of what’s restricted, the Australian Government is distinguishing between organic powders, such as baby formula, coffee, protein powder and spices, and inorganic powders, such as talcum powders, foot powders, powdered detergent, some cosmetics and cleaning products.
Organic powders are fine but restrictions apply to inorganic powders.
Importantly, the quantity will be calculated on the total container volume, so “passengers cannot tip powders out to fall under the 350mL threshold”.
While powders will have to be presented separately at airport security, unlike liquids, you won’t have to put them in a separate, resealable plastic bag.