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Search and Surveillance Bill becomes law

Hon Judith Collins
Minister of Justice

22 March 2012

Search and Surveillance Bill becomes law

A bill giving clarity and certainty to outdated search and surveillance provisions has passed its third and final reading in Parliament today.

Justice Minister Judith Collins says the new Search and Surveillance Act 2012 brings “order, certainty, clarity and consistency” to messy, unclear and outdated search and surveillance laws. The Act follows a 2007 Law Commission report that recommended search and surveillance powers be consolidated and updated.

“I am pleased to have finally reached this point with this significant legislation. The Search and Surveillance Act 2012 is a comprehensive reform of search and surveillance powers, and complements the Government’s initiatives on organised and drug crime.

“This important legislation updates unclear and outdated search and surveillance provisions found across 69 different Acts. We now have a search and surveillance regime fit for the 21st century,” Ms Collins said.

Ms Collins says there are a number of safeguards in the Act to balance law enforcement and investigation powers with human rights values.

“We have achieved the right balance between the need for effective and modern search and surveillance powers, and protecting the rights of citizens.”

Some provisions in the Act will come into force by 18 April 2012 so that the expiry of the Video Camera Surveillance (Temporary Measures) Act 2011 does not endanger ongoing investigations using covert video surveillance.

“We now have consistency and certainty for our enforcement agencies. The Police will have the confidence they need to continue using surveillance in ongoing investigations,” Ms Collins said.


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