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Secondhand dealer laws to be tightened

Secondhand dealer laws to be tightened

Tougher regulations planned for secondhand dealers and pawnbrokers will make it harder for criminals to dispose of stolen goods, Justice Minister Phil Goff said today.

The Secondhand Dealers and Pawnbrokers Bill, which will replace the Secondhand Dealers Act 1963 and the Pawnbrokers Act 1908, was introduced by Mr Goff today.

Main features of the Bill are: the introduction of a tougher licensing and certification regime for dealers, pawnbrokers and their staff a requirement that dealers must sight approved ID and record contact details and the signature of all people selling goods to them new retention requirements covering goods 'at risk' of being stolen improved police powers to access records and inspect goods held by dealers or pawnbrokers. stiffer penalties for non-compliance with the legislation "The government is committed to tackling burglary and other property crime from both ends. Harsher penalties, a greater police focus on burglary, and measures making it harder for burglars to enter properties are part of the solution," Mr Goff said.

"Making it harder to dispose of stolen property, and increasing the chances of detection of those trying to sell such goods, is also vital to impeding and discouraging such crimes as there is little point in stealing goods that you can't sell.

"The new Bill will require dealers to sight ID such as a driver's licence, and to record the contact details and signature of everyone selling goods to them.

"Those requirement will increase the risk for people knowingly trying to pass on stolen goods, and also assist police in tracing where people who unwittingly pass on stolen goods got those goods from.

"A new schedule is also proposed to cover goods regarded by the police as being at risk of being stolen, which will replace the current list drawn up in 1963 which was hopelessly out of date in listing goods such as gramophones and fur coats, but not video recorders, computers and Play Stations. "Goods on the schedule must be retained by the dealer for two weeks, unless they are being sold on behalf of a client, to allow time for stolen goods with distinguishing characteristics to be identified by the dealer, police carrying out an inspection, or a customer.

"The new Bill will also make it harder for people convicted of dishonesty to work in the secondhand trade.

"The current lifetime licence for secondhand dealers will be replaced with one valid for five years, while all staff accepting goods, or supervising other staff who accept goods, on behalf of a business will require a certificate, also valid for five years.

"Licences and certificates will be in photo ID form and will only be granted or renewed after the applicant has undergone a character check. The details will be kept on a centralised electronic register while each business will have to keep its own record of the names, addresses, phone numbers and certificate numbers of employees, which have to be available to police on request.

"Penalties for not complying with the new legislation have been sharply increased, with a maximum penalty of $20,000 for acting as an unlicensed dealer replacing the existing maximum fines of $200 for secondhand dealers and $100 for pawnbrokers, which provided no deterrent," Mr Goff said.

The new regulations also require people running markets or fairs to record the date and location of each event, as well as the details of people selling secondhand goods.

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