New laws providing more teeth to the police to tackle street violence have been introduced in the Australian state of Victoria following a string of attacks, including on Indian students.
Police and Emergency Services Minister Bob Cameron said the new laws, ushered on Thursday, will boost Victoria Police's ability to deal with drunkenness, disorder at public places and violence.
"Anti-social behaviour has no place on our streets and these new laws introduced by our government will help keep Victorian communities safe so that people can enjoy public spaces," Xinhua quoted Cameron as saying.
There have been a spate of attacks on Indian students since early May. The attacks caused an uproar in India and led to Canberra assuring New Delhi about the safety of the students. There are concerns that A $15 billion educational sector is likely to be adversely affected by the racial violence.
The new powers for police will enable them to carry tougher random search for weapons in the designated areas, to tell people to move on from certain areas and to levy on-the-spot fines for disorderly or drunken behaviour.
Cameron added that senior police personnel will be empowered to declare such designated areas, such as entertainment precincts and railway stations, on the basis of past evidence and police intelligence regarding the use of weapons.
"Police will also have the power to use the new search laws when an immediate response to an incident is necessary in order to protect public safety," he said.
Cameron said the laws enabling searches for weapons have been strengthened to help protect the police in the line of duty.