New research from Dr Clare Farmer, in collaboration with Dr Robyn Clifford and Professor Peter Miller, finds that summary police powers to ban people from public places continue to expand, but with limited understanding of the effects. The research highlights the need for meaningful oversight and rigorous scrutiny.

Summary powers to exclude individuals from public areas form a key part of the policing of space and the control of undesirable behaviors. The rationale for police-imposed banning is framed around a presumed need to manage the risk of disorder, and assumes a combination of operational, deterrent and community safety effects.

In Australia, the reach of banning has expanded steadily but oversight is limited. Some jurisdictions mandate the publication of annual reports relating to the imposition of police bans, while others preclude any information sharing. This paper analyses the data that is available to assess what it reveals about the use and effects of banning, and examines the extent to which jurisdictions monitor their banning provisions.

Overall, the findings do not support a reasonable expectation of scrutiny and accountability of summary police powers to ban. Limited patterns of use can be discerned, but the effects of banning cannot be isolated. Despite the enthusiasm with which police banning powers have been implemented, there is little evidence of proactive monitoring of their use or effects. This study highlights a clear need for police banning across Australia to be subject to meaningful oversight and rigorous scrutiny.

Access the full article here.

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