Queensland Police to get new powers to search digital devices of child sex offenders

Police will be able to enter a pedophile’s home to search their digital devices without a warrant under new laws to be introduced in Queensland.

In an effort to combat the increase in child sex offences, police may require reportable offenders to disclose their use of hidden app devices and their media access control address (MAC), the unique identifiers assigned to electronic devices.

Police are currently required to seek an offender’s consent to inspect their devices.

Violators who do not comply with the police face penalties of up to five years in prison.

Police Minister Mark Ryan said that since the start of the COVID pandemic, child sex offenders have been using new web technology to target children.

“This is a very alarming and worrying trend,” Ryan said.

“There are currently advanced anonymization software, such as virtual private networks and hidden phone apps, allowing these predators to remain invisible online, hiding evidence of their child sex crimes.”

Changes to help prevent recurrence

The legislation, believed to be an Australian first, will be presented to Parliament this week.

Mr Ryan said the new laws were a necessary tool for police to prosecute paedophiles.

Acting Chief Superintendent of Crime and Intelligence Command Detective Denzil Clark held a press conference this morning.(ABC News)

“These offenders are the lowest of the lowest, and I am determined that they will have nowhere to hide,” he said.

“As technology evolves, it is essential that police are given the tools they need to keep the pressure on child sex offenders.

“The SPQ [Queensland Police Service] has done a remarkable job in his seemingly endless quest against this despicable behavior.

“It’s incredibly complex and stressful for officers and in every way the government can help legislatively, we absolutely do.”

Acting Chief Superintendent of Crime and Intelligence Command Detective Denzil Clark said he hoped the new laws would help prevent repeat offences.

“Current legislation certainly creates difficulties for us when it comes to entering a facility to perform a device inspection and technology is being used by our offenders to defeat our device review,” he said. .

“So this legislation will go a long way to leveling the playing field for us to access those premises to inspect those devices and hold those violators accountable.”

Close-up of child protection advocate Hetty Johnston's head
Ms Johnston appreciated the laws but said more could still be done.(Jason Rawlins: ABC News)

Child protection lawyer Hetty Johnston welcomed the new laws and said police need tools to track technology that helps offenders.

“Anything the government can do to give more power and authority to the police, to investigate sex crimes against children, must be done,” Ms Johnston said.

“We must stop putting the human rights of adults above the human rights of children,

“For those of us who work in this industry, we see this spiraling out of control, and it’s scary.”

Ms Johnston urged authorities to go even further.

“Don’t let them out just yet, we have the legal mechanisms to detain sex offenders past their release date, if they’re deemed a continuing threat to the community, but the courts don’t do that. don’t use.”

“Even when professionals say a person is still a risk, they are released.

“We shouldn’t have to chase them down and put bracelets on them, we as a community should know where the dangerous sex offenders are, and it should be behind bars.”

Brandon D. James