We are not legal professionals. Seek legal advice if you are unsure about anything related this page.

Due to the ease of finding legal resources in Victoria, we have published on this page some rights and advice related specifically to the state of Victoria, including frequently asked questions and common tactics of cops to elicit information. Other states will be similar, however it is worth checking the specific police powers in other states. Where possible we have posted links below for other states.

In all states of Australia, once fulfilling your obligations related to identification, you have the right to remain silent, regardless of what police tell you.. It is worth exercising this right in all contexts. You have nothing to gain from talking to police, whilst they have a lot to gain form talking to you.




Via BrisCan



Police Powers

Police Interviews

Right to silence

Key Legislation

A 2010 Zine regarding legal rights and interacting with cops.




Answering Police Questions

Police Powers to Arrest and Detain

Powers to Search




Under section 456AA of the Crimes Act1958 (Vic) the police can ask for your name and address if they believe that you:

•    Have broken the law

•    Are about the break the law

•    Are able to assist them with information about an indictable offence

If the police demand your name and address they MUST give you reasons for doing so. You should ask for these reasons.

If the police refuse or are unable to provide a reason for requesting your details, you have every right to walk away without providing any identification.

If you do provide police with your name and address, you are not legally required to give them any further information or say anything else. The police are trained in gathering information – what may seem like a friendly conversation is usually a tactic to drop your guard and probe for information – so once you have fulfilled your legal obligation, it is often wise to reply ‘no comment’ or remain silent to any further questioning.

The police must also tell you their name, identification number, police station and rank. You should always ask for this information and ask that it be provided in writing.

The police may also demand your name and address without giving a reason if you:

•       Are driving a car, motor bike, boat or push bike

•       Are on public transport or public transport property (public transport officers can also ask for your name and address)

•       Are in a hotel or licensed premises



Generally, the police can only search you if you agree or if they have a warrant.

The police can search you, your possessions and your car without consent or a warrant if you are in a public place and they believe you are carrying illegal drugs, volatile substances, weapons, graffiti implements, or firearms.

If you are within a “designated area” the police do not need to have a reasonable suspicion that you are actually in possession of or intend to use a weapon in order to search you. If you are not within a designated area, however, there must exist a reasonable suspicion or evidence on which their decision to search you has been based.

Police may conduct a ”pat-down search” of the outside of your clothes and ask you to empty your pockets.

If you are in custody or under arrest you can be searched for things that could be used as evidence for the offence you have been arrested for. Police may conduct either a ”pat-down search” or a ”strip search” in a private place.

Police must not undertake an internal search without first obtaining a court order.

Searches are required to be conducted, so far as reasonably practicable, by police officers of the same sex as the person to be searched.

Where possible, refuse to be searched, but if police insist then closely monitor them. Try to have as many witnesses as possible to follow and observe each police officer (there will usually be several). Use cameras and tape recorders, if you have them.

Check every item police attempt to take away, and ensure your witnesses see that police don’t plant or falsely “find” anything. Insist on a detailed receipt for anything that is taken – this can be cross-referenced with the report to the magistrate. Do not countersign this receipt if it is not accurate or not fully detailed.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s