New consorting provisions came into effect in New South Wales on 9 April 2012 and are set out in the Crimes Act 1900 in Division 7, Part 3A. It is now an indictable offence punishable by up to 3 years imprisonment and/or a $16,500 fine to habitually consort with convicted offenders after receiving a warning from police. Anyone can be warned or charged with consorting.
Consorting includes face to face contact and other means of communication such as electronic media. The provisions are being used by the NSW Police Force to address organised criminal activity and local crime issues.
The Ombudsman is required to review the operation of the consorting provisions and prepare a report for the Commissioner of Police and the Attorney General who will table it in Parliament.
The NSW Ombudman's Office has released this paper outlining what it considers to be the main issues emerging from the use of the new consorting provisions in their first 12 months of operation.
The public is invited to make submissions. Submissions close on 28 February 2014.