Police Powers: Move On Orders

Many young people will encounter Police when they are out together.  The Police are given special powers to prevent crime and protect the community.  It is important to understand what these powers are and how to behave when the Police use these powers to avoid being charged with serious offences.

The power to move you on

If you are in a Public Place or in a vehicle used for public transport (bus, train or taxi) and the Police reasonably suspect that you are a ‘trouble maker’, the Police can:


  1. Order you to go a reasonable distance away from the place or part of it.
  2. Order you to stay a reasonable distance away from the place or part of it for up to 24 hours.


Before a police officer can issue a Move On Order, he or she must consider how the Order will affect your ability to return home, attend work, transport, health, education, or other essential services.


Before issuing a Move On Order, the police can require you to give them your ‘personal details’ which is your full name, date of birth and the address where you are living. If police believe that your personal details are false then you may be asked to provide some form of identification. If you fail to give police your personal details or give the police false details or produce false identification then you commit an offence and can be charged.


A Move On Order must be in writing.


Once you have been given a Move On Order, you must leave the area and not return for the time given in the Order.


If you fail to leave or return before the end of the time given in the Order, you can be charged with Failing to obey a Police Order.

Other police powers

The power to request your personal details
See our fact sheet “Police powers: Request your personal details” for information.

The power to search you and your bags

See our fact sheet “Police powers: Search” for information.

The power to move a child to a safe place
See our fact sheet “Police powers: Move children to a safe place” for information.

The power of arrest
See our fact sheet “Police powers: Arrest” for information.

The power to detain people who are intoxicated in public
See our fact sheet “Police powers: Detain intoxicated people” for information.

More Information

For legal advice about your own situation, contact Youth Legal Service 1800 199 006 or 9202 1688

See our fact sheet “Rights & responsibilities when encountering Police”.

Need Legal Advice?

If you do require an interview with a lawyer on a legal matter please phone 9202 1688 to make an appointment, or fill out the online application here and a staff member will get back to you.

Please note: Laws are subject to change. Last updated July 2020.

Important: The information provided in this infosheet is for information only. 

It should not be relied on as legal advice. 

Please seek legal advice about your particular circumstances.

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