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International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy Queensland University of Technology 2202-8005 The International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy is an open access, blind peer reviewed journal that publishes critical research about challenges confronting criminal justice systems around the world. Committed to Open Access  and democratising quality knowledge production and dissemination. FREE TO DOWNLOAD AND FREE TO PUBLISH!
International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy 7 3

Criminal Law as Police Power: Serious Crime, Unsafe Protest and Risks to Public Safety


This article considers the deepening of police power in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, criminal law. It analyses the combined effects of four recent criminal law regimes that not only give the NSW Police Force more powers, but also reflect the significant role of institutional police power and the pre-emptive logic of criminal law. We examine: the introduction of serious crime prevention orders; the introduction of public safety orders; investigative detention powers in relation to terrorist acts; and confiscation, forfeiture and search powers, and trespass offences that target protests. Drawing on the work of ‘police power’ theorists, we argue that these new regimes illustrate the centrality of police power to the criminal law rather than a deviation from a putative, ‘normal’ criminal law.

Pages:75 to 90
Section: Articles
2 citation(s) in Scopus
1 citation(s) in Web of Science


Total Abstract Views: 1721  Total PDF Downloads: 1489

Author Biographies

Faculty of Law, UNSW Sydney
Australia Australia

Dr Vicki Sentas is Senior Lectuter, Faculty of Law, UNSW Sydney. 

Michael Grewcock is a senior lecturer in the Law School, University of NSW. His research interests are in State Crime, Criminology, Criminal Law, Forced Migration and Border Policing, and Penology. He is author of Border Crimes: Australia's War on Illicit Migrants (2009) Institute of Criminology Press, Sydney, and is widely recognised as one of Australia's leading experts of border control and migration. He is a member of the Editorial Board of State Crime and the Editorial Advisory Group of the Howard Journal of Crime and Justice.