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Legal > Criminal Law & Criminal Offences

Police Powers:

Overview FAQs Articles Locations

To ensure the enforcement of the law, the police are provided with a range of powers. These powers are contained in legislation. The Law Enforcement (Power & Responsibilities) Act 2002 (NSW) is a significant piece of legislation in relation to police powers. The Act lists a range of powers available to police officers. With power comes responsibility – the Act also lists a number of safeguards and approval processes to be adhered to by police when exercising such powers.

Some examples of police powers include:

  1. Power to enter premises;
  2. Power to require identity to be disclosed;
  3. Power to search persons and premises;
  4. Power to seize property; and
  5. Power to stop vehicles.

When exercising police powers under legislation, a police officer must adhere to the safeguards in Part 15 of the Law Enforcement (Powers & Responsibilities) Act 2002 (NSW). Failure to follow or comply with the safeguards may render the action unlawful and evidence gained through the act inadmissible.

An example of a safeguard is the obligation on the part of the police officer to provide the following when exercising a relevant power under the Act:

  1. Evidence that he or she is a police officer;
  2. The police officer’s name and his or her place of duty; and
  3. The reason for the exercise of power.

It is an offence to resist or assault a police officer during the execution of duty through a police power. There are significant penalties under legislation if a person is found guilty of assaulting or hindering a police officer in the course of duty. For more information on assaulting police, refer to the section on “Assault Police” on our website.

When dealing with minors, that is, persons under the age of eighteen (18), the legislation provides that a warning be given rather than a direct arrest. If a warning is not sufficient, a caution may be issued. The attitude towards minors is to ensure they are educated and guided rather than penalised. There are of course exceptions to the offences in which a caution or warning may be given in place of arrest. For instance, where a minor is suspected of committing murder, sexual assault or a serious violence offence, arrest would be considered appropriate.

Our qualified Criminal Lawyers have a range of experiences in the matters where police have used their powers unlawfully.   Our lawyers are very familiar with the Law Enforcement (Power & Responsibilities) Act 2002 (NSW) and the powers attributed to police officers thereunder.  We have represented defendants in a number of Courts in Sydney and have the expertise to deal with simple and complex matters where police have used their powers inappropriately. If you have been subject to a police power and believe it was exercised unlawfully, come and speak to one of our specialist Criminal Lawyers. Contact our office today.  You will usually see one of our criminal lawyers in our Sydney office or in one of our branch offices, by appointment. 

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This webpage (and any material or wording appearing on this webpage) is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute any Legal Advice. It does not take into account your objectives, your instructions or all of the relevant facts and/or circumstances. Navado accepts no responsibility to any person who relies on the information provided on this website. We further refer you to our Disclaimer.

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If you require assistance with a Criminal matter, you should make an appointment to see one of our Lawyers in one of the following locations:

  • Sydney
  • Parramatta
  • Chatswood
  • Hurstville

Our Locations

  • Criminal Lawyer Sydney
  • Criminal Lawyer Parramatta
  • Criminal Lawyer North Sydney
  • Criminal Lawyer Hurstville
  • Criminal Lawyer Liverpool
  • Criminal Lawyer Gordon
  • Criminal Lawyer Baulkham Hills
  • Criminal Lawyer Campbelltown
  • Criminal Lawyer Bondi Junction
  • Criminal Lawyer Chatswood
  • Criminal Lawyer Miranda
  • Criminal Lawyer Bella Vista
  • Criminal Lawyer Erina
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