Extracts from the Police Powers Act

Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000

We provide these extracts from the Act as the most relevant to inform you of your rights and the responsibilities of the police when dealing with the public.

Dancing Dickie Daniels at Kangaroo Point, Qld, 1960’s

Remember that this Act was passed by the corporate political party government that has no authority under the Crown of the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1901. For your own protection, we recommend you read the full Act here:

https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/pdf/inforce/2018-02-12/act-2000-005

An Act about the powers and responsibilities of police officers, and for other purposes

Section 5

Purposes of Act The purposes of this Act are as follows—

(a) to consolidate and rationalise the powers and responsibilities police officers have for investigating offences and enforcing the law;

(b) to provide powers necessary for effective modern policing and law enforcement;

(c) to provide consistency in the nature and extent of the powers and responsibilities of police officers;

(d) to standardise the way the powers and responsibilities of police officers are to be exercised;

(e) to ensure fairness to, and protect the rights of, persons against whom police officers exercise powers under this Act;

(f) to enable the public to better understand the nature and extent of the powers and responsibilities of police officers;

(g) to provide for the forced muster of stray stock

Section 7Compliance with Act by police officers

(1) It is Parliament’s intention that police officers should comply with this Act in exercising powers and performing responsibilities under it.

(2) For ensuring compliance with Parliament’s intention, a police officer who contravenes this Act may be dealt with as provided by law.

Examples—

1 A minor contravention, for example, forgetting to make an entry in a register, may amount to a breach of discipline under the Police Service Administration Act 1990 for which a police officer may be dealt with under that Act, including by correction by way of counselling.

2 A contravention, for example, a police officer maliciously strip-searching a suspect in a public place, may amount to misconduct under the Police Service Administration Act 1990.

3 A contravention, for example, a police officer improperly disclosing to a criminal information obtained through the use of a listening device, may amount to corrupt conduct under the Crime and Corruption Act 2001.

4 A contravention, for example, a police officer deliberately holding a person in custody for questioning several hours after the end of a detention period with no intention of applying under this Act for an extension of the detention period, may amount to an offence of deprivation of liberty under the Criminal Code, section 355.

Section 9

Act does not affect constable’s common law powers etc. Unless this Act otherwise provides, this Act does not affect—

  • the powers, obligations and liabilities a constable has at common law; or
  • the powers a police officer may lawfully exercise as an individual, including for example, powers for protecting property.

Part 3 Appointment as, and helping, public officials Division

1 Provisions about appointments

13 Appointment of police officers as public officials for other Acts

(1) This section applies if—

(a) an Act (authorising law) authorises someone (appointer) to appoint public officials for giving effect to the authorising law; and

(b) a police officer may be appointed as a public official under the authorising law.

(2) Despite the authorising law, the appointer may appoint a police officer as a public official for the authorising law only with the commissioner’s written approval to the proposed appointment.

(3) The commissioner may approve the proposed appointment only if the commissioner is satisfied the police officer proposed to be appointed—

(a) has the necessary experience or expertise to be a public official for the authorising law; or

(b) has satisfactorily completed a course of training approved by the commissioner.

(4) A police officer may exercise powers as a public official under an authorising law only if and to the extent the commissioner approves the police officer’s appointment under this section.

(5) If, under the authorising law, the commissioner is the appointer for police officers, this section does not prevent the commissioner from appointing a police officer as a public official under the authorising law.

Division 2 Helping public officials

16 Helping public officials exercise powers under other Acts

(1) This section applies if an Act (authorising law) authorises a public official to perform functions in relation to a person or thing.

(2) However, this section only applies to a police officer who is not a public official for the authorising law.

(3) If a public official asks, a police officer may help the public official perform the public official’s functions under the authorising law.

(4) Before the police officer helps the public official, the public official must explain to the police officer the powers the public official has under the authorising law.

(5) If the public official is not present or will not be present when the help is to be given, the police officer may give the help only if the police officer is satisfied giving the help in the public official’s absence is reasonably necessary in the particular circumstances.

(6) The police officer has, while helping a public official, the same powers and protection under the authorising law as the public official has.

(7) Subsection (6) is in addition to, and does not limit, the powers and protection a police officer has under this or any other

Act. 17 Steps police officer may take for failure to give name and address etc. to public official

(1) This section applies if a police officer reasonably suspects a person required by a public official under another Act to state the person’s name and address or date of birth has failed to comply with the requirement.

(2) The police officer may ask the person whether the person has a reasonable excuse for not complying with the requirement and, if the person gives an excuse, ask for details or further details of the excuse.

(3) If the person does not answer the question or gives an excuse that the police officer reasonably suspects is not a reasonable excuse, the police officer may, under chapter 2, part

4, require the person to state the following—

(a) the person’s name and address;

(b) the person’s date of birth. Note— See section 791 (Offence to contravene direction or requirement of police officer).

(4) This section does not apply if the public official is a police officer.

18 Steps police officer may take for obstruction of public official

(1) This section applies if a public official claims to have been obstructed by a person in the exercise of the public official’s powers and a police officer reasonably suspects the obstruction has happened.

 (2) The police officer may ask the person whether the person has a reasonable excuse for the conduct and, if the person gives an excuse, ask for details or further details of the excuse.

(3) If the person does not answer the question or gives an excuse the police officer reasonably suspects is not a reasonable excuse, the police officer may require the person to stop, or not repeat, the conduct.

(4) This section does not apply if the public official is a police officer.

Chapter 2 General enforcement powers

Part 1 Entry, inquiries and inspection

19 General power to enter to make inquiries, investigations or serve documents

  • The purpose of this section is to ensure a police officer performing a function of the police service may enter and stay on a place in circumstances that may otherwise be trespass.
  • However, this section does not authorise entry to a private place if a provision of this Act or another Act provides for entry in the particular circumstances only under a search warrant or other stated authority.
    Note— See, for example, the Prostitution Act 1999, section 59.
  • A police officer may enter a place and stay for a reasonable time on the place to inquire into or investigate a matter. Examples for subsection (3)—

1 The entry may be to a public area of a place such as a hotel or a nightclub for finding out if an offence is being or has been committed on the place.

2 The entry may be for finding out if a person reasonably suspected of being involved in the commission of an offence is at a place.

3 The entry may be for finding out if a missing person is in the place.

  • Also, a police officer may enter and stay for a reasonable time on a place to serve a document.
  • However, if the place contains a dwelling, the only part of the place a police officer may enter without the consent of the occupier is the part of the place that is not a dwelling.
  • Also, the police officer may only use minimal force to enter the place.
    Example for subsection (6)— turning a door handle to open an unlocked door and opening the door

Part 2 Searching persons, vehicles and places without warrant

Division 1 Roadblocks

26 Roadblocks

(1) A police officer may establish a roadblock if the police officer reasonably suspects a roadblock may be effective to apprehend or locate a person in a vehicle who—

(a) has committed a seven year imprisonment offence; or

(b) may be unlawfully depriving someone else of liberty; or

Note— For what is unlawful deprivation of liberty, see the Criminal Code, section 355.

(c) is being unlawfully deprived of liberty; or

(d) has escaped from lawful custody; or

(e) may be endangering the life or safety of someone else.

(2) In deciding whether to establish a roadblock, the police officer must have regard to the following—

(a) when and where the relevant circumstances happened;

(b) information the police officer has about where the person sought may be travelling in a vehicle.

(3) A police officer may stop all vehicles or any vehicle at the roadblock and detain each vehicle stopped for the time reasonably necessary to search it to find out if a person mentioned in subsection (1) is in it.

NOTE: This does not give the police any powers to stop a car to conduct a breath test

Being pulled over for a Random Breath Test does not constitute a crime. Therefore, the police have no right to pull you over without due cause, or to make any demands on a citizen, as confirmed in these court decisions. We repeat: The following judgments make it very clear that the police do not have the power or authority to stop you for any reason unless they suspect you have committed a crime.

  1. Regina v Banner (1970) VR 240 at p 249 – the Full Bench of the Northern Territory Supreme Court
    In this judgement, the NT Supreme Court handed down a ruling that, “(Police officers) have no power whatever to arrest or detain a citizen for the purpose of questioning him or of facilitating their investigations. It matters not at all whether the questioning or the investigation is for the purpose of enabling them to ascertain whether he is the person guilty of a crime known to have been committed or is for the purpose of enabling them to discover whether a crime has or has not been committed. If the police do so act in purported exercise of such a power, their conduct is not only destructive of civil liberties but it is unlawful.”
  2. Andrew Hamilton Vs Director of Public Prosecutions – Justice Stephen Kaye – Melbourne Supreme Court ruling – 25 November 2011
    “It is an ancient principle of the Common Law that a person not under arrest has no obligation to stop for police or answer their questions. And there is no statute that removes that right. The conferring of such a power on a police officer would be a substantial detraction from the fundamental freedoms which have been guaranteed to the citizen by the Common Law for centuries.”
  3. Magistrate Duncan Reynolds – Melbourne – July 2013
    “There is no common law power vested in police giving them the unfettered right to stop or detain a person and seek identification details. Nor, is s.59 of the (Road Safety) Act a statutory source of such power.”

NOTE: None of the above precedents have been overturned on appeal or in the High Court. They still stand today and you can point out to the police that they are acting unlawfully if they continue to detain you without due cause to believe you have committed a crime.

Division 2 Searching persons without warrant

29 Searching persons without warrant

(1) A police officer who reasonably suspects any of the prescribed circumstances for searching a person without a warrant exist may, without a warrant, do any of the following—

(a) stop and detain a person;

(b) search the person and anything in the person’s possession for anything relevant to the circumstances for which the person is detained.

(2) The police officer may seize all or part of a thing—

(a) that may provide evidence of the commission of an offence; or

(b) that the person intends to use to cause harm to himself, herself or someone else; or

(c) if section 30(b) applies, that is an antique firearm.

Division 3 Searching vehicles without warrant

31 Searching vehicles without warrant

(1) A police officer who reasonably suspects any of the prescribed circumstances for searching a vehicle without a warrant exist may, without warrant, do any of the following—

(a) stop a vehicle;

(b) detain a vehicle and the occupants of the vehicle; (c) search a vehicle and anything in it for anything relevant to the circumstances for which the vehicle and its occupants are detained.

(2) Also, a police officer may stop, detain and search a vehicle and anything in it if the police officer reasonably suspects—

(a) the vehicle is being used unlawfully; or

(b) a person in the vehicle may be arrested without warrant under section 365 or under a warrant under the Corrective Services Act 2006.

(3) If the driver or a passenger in the vehicle is arrested for an offence involving something the police officer may search for under this part without a warrant, a police officer may also detain the vehicle and anyone in it and search the vehicle and anything in it.

(4) If it is impracticable to search for a thing that may be concealed in a vehicle at the place where the vehicle is stopped, the police officer may take the vehicle to a place with appropriate facilities for searching the vehicle and search the vehicle at that place.

(5) The police officer may seize all or part of a thing—

(a) that may provide evidence of the commission of an offence; or

(b) that the person intends to use to cause harm to himself, herself or someone else; or

(c) if section 32(1)(b) applies, that is an antique firearm.

(6) Power under this section to search a vehicle includes power to enter the vehicle, stay in it and re-enter it as often as necessary to remove from it a thing seized under subsection (5).

Part 4 Power to require name, address or age

Division 1 Powers relating to name and address

40 Person may be required to state name and address

(1) A police officer may require a person to state the person’s correct name and address in prescribed circumstances.

(2) Also, the police officer may require the person to give evidence of the correctness of the stated name and address if, in the circumstances, it would be reasonable to expect the person to be in possession of evidence of the correctness of the stated name or address or to otherwise be able to give the evidence.

(3) A person does not commit an offence against section 791 if the person was required by a police officer to state the person’s name and address and the person is not proved—

(a) for section 41(a) or (b)—to have committed the offence; or

(b) for section 41(f)—to be the person named in the warrant, summons, order or court document; or

(c) for section 41(h)—to have been involved or to be about to be involved in domestic violence or associated domestic violence; or

(d) for section 41(i) or (j)—to have been able to help in the investigation.

(4) Also, a person does not commit an offence against section 791 if—

(a) the person was required by a police officer to state the person’s name and address for enforcing the Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Act 1998 in relation to the supply of a smoking product to a child; and

(b) no-one is proved to have committed an offence against that Act.

(5) In this section— address means current place of residence

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