Rights & responsibilities when encountering Police

16 important points to remember

  1. Be polite and stay calm.
  2. If you do not know the rank of the police officer, call him/her ‘Officer’.
  3. Do not resist or be abusive or violent.
  4. Never push, shove, hit or spit at a police officer.
  5. If questioned, you must give your correct name, address and date of birth, or address where you usually live. You do not have to say anything else or sign anything.
  6. Do not lie or give false information.
  7. You and your bags can be searched by Police if they reasonably suspect you are carrying anything relevant to an offence.
  8. Do not resist if the Police want to conduct a search of you or your bags.
  9. You do not normally have to go with the police unless you are arrested but, if you are under 18 and the Police believe you are not at school or are not safe and there is no adult supervising you, then you may have to go with Police.
  10. Ask if you are being arrested and, if so, on what charge.
  11. If you are arrested, do not struggle or make it difficult for the police.
  12. If you are under 18 and arrested, ask for a responsible adult to be present at the questioning.
  13. You and your car may be searched without a warrant if the police reasonably suspect the presence of illegal drugs, stolen goods, weapons or implements of crime.
  14. A warrant is needed to search your house, except when you (or, if under 18, your parents) give permission or if you have been arrested.
  15. If you are injured or treated with excessive force, report it to the officer in charge of the station and see a doctor and lawyer as soon as possible.
  16. If you disagree with the way you have been dealt with, you can make a complaint about the police to WA Police Complaints and the Corruption & Crime Commission.

More Information

See our facts sheets “Police powers: Request your personal details”, “Police powers: Search”, “Police powers: Detain intoxicated people”, “Police powers: Move children to a safe place”, “Police powers: Arrest” and “At the police station”.

Legal Aid WA find legal answers:    https://www.legalaid.wa.gov.au/find-legal-answers/crime/under-arrest-and-police-powers

WA Police Complaints:    https://www.police.wa.gov.au/Police-Direct/Commendations-and-complaints/Complaints-About-WA-Police-Personnel/Complaints-information

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.


Translate »