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Dangerous Weapons Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Context

(1) It is an offence under the Firearms Act 1996, Weapons Prohibition Act 1998 and Crimes Act 1900 to possess or use dangerous weapons in an unauthorised manner. In terms of the Firearms Act penalties extend to the unlawful possession and/or safekeeping of ammunition. Further to these legal requirements the University also believes that the presence of any weapons on its campuses poses an increased risk to the health and safety of members of its community.

(2) As the health and safety of all members of its community is a high priority for the University it will not tolerate the unlawful or unnecessary possession of firearms and prohibited weapons on its premises.

(3) This policy applies to all members of the University community, including staff, students and visitors and sets out the University's position on the possession and use of dangerous weapons on its premises.

(4) Notwithstanding the fact that certain items designated under legislation as "Dangerous Goods" are covered by this policy, it is not the intent of this policy to cover all such items. For information or advice relating to "Dangerous Goods" individuals should contact the Work Health, Safety and Wellbeing or Campus Safety and Security or refer to the University's Work Health and Safety documentation.

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Section 2 - Definitions

(5) For the purpose of this policy:

  1. Dangerous weapon means any:
    1. firearm other than a captive bolt gun being a firearm designed to kill animals by firing a bolt that remains part of the firearm during and after firing (within the meaning of the Firearms Act 1996), or
    2. prohibited weapon (within the meaning of the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998), and
    3. other instrument designed for or used in attack or defence in combat, fighting, acts of terrorism or war including but not limited to the examples provided in Section 5 of this document.
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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(6) Under no circumstances other than those prescribed in clauses (7) through (9) are students, staff or members of the general public to bring dangerous weapons onto University premises. Furthermore under no circumstances are students, staff or members of the general public to use University premises, equipment or resources to make or maintain dangerous weapons. This prohibition also applies to residential students and the Residential Colleges.

(7) Officers of the NSW Police Force and Australian Federal Police and Australian Defence Forces and other persons authorised by legislation are exempted from the University's prohibition on the possession of dangerous weapons where the officer/person is on University premises in relation to the performance of their official duties and is legally authorised to carry such weapons in the performance of their official duties.

(8) Persons engaged in the humane destruction of an animal as a result of injury to the animal, in relation to research or teaching regarding an animal or in order to comply with the University's commercial obligations, are exempted from the University's prohibition on the possession of dangerous weapons on the proviso that:

  1. the person in possession of the dangerous weapon is appropriately licensed and is legally authorised to carry the weapon on University premises;
  2. in the reasonable opinion of the person responsible for the care and control of the animal there is no other humane alternative for the destruction of the animal;
  3. the University has granted an exemption under the Animals on Campus Policy authorising the keeping of the animal on University premises;
  4. the humane destruction protocol is in accordance with any relevant codes of practice for the husbandry of animals and any limits imposed by the University Animal Care and Ethics Committee;
  5. if the animals are kept in relation to a commercial activity, the commercial activity is authorised in accordance with the University's Commercial Activity Guidelines;
  6. the University has authorised the possession of the weapon either:
    1. in accordance with clause 19; or
    2. where the destruction of the animal is required to be undertaken urgently for humane reasons, and it is impracticable to comply with clause 19, then with the approval of the Director, Campus Safety and Security; and
  7. the destruction of the animal is carried out in accordance with a protocol previously approved by the Director, Campus Safety and Security, and which includes an appropriate risk assessment and management strategy.

(9) Sporting goods (e.g. archery and fencing equipment) that could be considered dangerous weapons if used inappropriately may be brought to or stored on campus on the proviso that:

  1. the University has approved the activity [refer to clause (19)] for which they are to be used in advance and has allocated an appropriate facility for its conduct, and
  2. appropriate, safe and secure storage is available and the equipment is secured within its designated storage space when not in use for the approved purpose, and
  3. such equipment is not in the possession of individuals when they are not using it for the approved purpose.

(10) Equipment such as domestic utensils (e.g. kitchen knives); professional tools of trade (e.g. Stanley knife, nail gun), and chemicals that may be used to undertake or support research or that may be used for common purposes (e.g. pool chlorine, gas cylinders) can also be considered dangerous weapons if used inappropriately. The University requires that such tools, chemicals and equipment are used only for their professional purposes on University premises by those qualified and authorised to use them. Any improper use of such items will be deemed a breach of this policy.

(11) Any student or staff member or visitor who contravenes the requirements of this policy or those of the governing legislation may find themselves subject to disciplinary and/or legal proceedings. The University reserves the right to remove any individual from its premises for failure to comply with its policies or the reasonable directions of its employees. The University also reserves the right to confiscate and impound any dangerous weapons found on University premises in breach of this policy and, if appropriate, to hand them over to appropriate external authorities.

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Section 4 - Procedures

Part A - Emergencies

(12) The University has developed emergency preparedness procedures to ensure the effective management of emergency situations. The University recognises that emergency situations involving dangerous weapons may arise. The University therefore expects that members of the University community will familiarise themselves with emergency procedures so that emergency situations can be managed effectively.

(13) Implementation of the emergency preparedness procedures may include contacting the University's Security Services (Emergency Response Personnel) or external emergency services as necessary in the circumstances.

(14) Persons using a University ground line as part of an emergency response need to dial zero (0) for an outside line before dialling the external emergency services number, triple zero (000) for police, fire or ambulance services. Internal security services can be contacted on 4736 0300 (or extension 2300).

Part B - Reporting Breaches

(15) Alleged breaches of this policy are to be reported to the University's Campus Safety and Security who will initiate appropriate action in regard to investigating such allegations.

(16) The University's Campus Safety and Security will initiate any appropriate follow up action, including notifying relevant authorities (e.g. NSW Police Force) and initiating internal disciplinary proceedings in accordance with the Student Misconduct Rule or relevant Enterprise Agreement where they believe a breach has occurred.

(17) Actions involving dangerous weapons that may involve a possible breach of criminal law will be reported to Police in every instance.

Part C - External Liaison

(18) The University's Campus Safety and Security will be responsible for liaison with external bodies in relation to potential offences under the Firearms Act and Weapons Prohibition Act.

Part D - Applying for Exemptions

(19) Anyone who wishes to apply for an exemption in accordance with clauses (8) and (9) of this policy should submit a written application to the Director, Campus Safety and Security. Written applications must clearly specify which items are to be covered by the exemption and the express purpose for which the exemption will apply. Applications must also be supported by a completed risk assessment and management strategy.

(20) Notwithstanding that a current exemption is in place in relation to the University's prohibition on the possession of a dangerous weapon, the Vice-Chancellor and President may, in his or her absolute discretion, withdraw an exemption at any time and direct that the dangerous weapon be immediately removed from University premises.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

(21) Examples of dangerous weapons include but are not limited to guns, explosives, armaments, arms, ammunition, knives of any kind, explosives, cross bows, sling shots, darts, maces, flails, whips, nunchaku, batons, electric shock devices, knuckle dusters, studded gloves, ammunition magazines, handcuffs.

(22) For further information regarding dangerous weapons, related offences and potential penalties, refer to the:

  1. Crimes Act 1900 No 40;
  2. Firearms Act 1996 No 46;
  3. Weapons Prohibition Act 1998 No 127;
  4. Security Industry Act 1997.

(23) For further information regarding emergency procedures students and staff can refer to the:

  1. Emergency Preparedness Procedures;
  2. Work Health, Safety and Wellbeing (for training and advice);
  3. University's Campus Safety and Security (for operational management of this policy).