New NSW police powers to allow senior officers to issue restraining orders to abusive spouses should have been introduced a long time ago, the police union says.
The NSW government on Thursday announced police officers of rank sergeant or above will be able to issue 28-day apprehended domestic violence orders (AVOs) in situations where there is evidence of potential violence.
Police Association of NSW president Scott Webber said the proposed new laws were a win for the people of NSW but had taken too long to be introduced.
"This should have been done a long time ago," he told reporters in Sydney on Thursday.
"Police officers for such a long time have had red tape that has tied their hands in regards to domestic violence.
"Today that red tape has been cut."
Currently, officers called out to potential domestic violence cases must leave the scene to apply through a court for a provisional AVO.
The government says four out of five provisional AVOs are applied for outside of court hours, resulting in delays and leaving the victim with a possible aggressor.
NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell said rural police could take several hours to get an order and return to the scene.
"In country areas, too often ... you'll end up with police having to travel some time," he told parliament on Thursday.
"Knowing full well that the hours it can take ... can see more harm and sometimes lethal harm inflicted on the victim."
Police also say offenders often leave while officers are away from the scene and police resources are wasted when they have to be tracked down.
Under the new laws, sergeants will be able to issue the orders and force an offender to accompany officers to the police station while they do so.
NSW Police Minister Michael Gallacher said the changes would protect the community and free up police resources.
"These changes ... will most certainly make it so much easier for police to be able to move quickly," he told reporters in Sydney.
"To be able to rectify a situation where women, where kids, are at risk and be able to move immediately."
NSW Assistant Police Commissioner Mark Murdoch said the policy would significantly change the way police responded in domestic violence cases.