The NSW Police Force work on keeping our community safe day to day so that we can feel safe in the community and more specifically, their role is to ensure that anyone who is alleged to have committed a crime is brought before the Justice system so that the Court process can unfold. But did you know that the Police have one of the hardest jobs in the country? This is because the police have many powers and more importantly many responsibilities which they must adhere to day-to-day.
The legislation which governs the bulk of police powers & responsibilities is the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002.
A Police Officer must provide the person of interest with the following (before or as soon as reasonably practicable after) when exercising a range of Police Powers:
· Evidence that they are a police officer (with the exception if he or she is in uniform); AND
· His/ Her name and place of duty; AND
· The reason for such power being exercised.
It should be noted that NSW police must do the above when they choose to exercise any of the following powers:
– Stop, Search or Arrest a person;
– Stop or Search a Vehicle, Vessel or Aircraft;
– Enter or Search Premises;
– Seize Property;
– Require the disclosure of the identity of a person (including requiring the removal of a face covering for identification purposes);
– Give or make a direction, requirement or request that a person is required to comply with by law;
– Establish a crime scene at premises (other than a public place);
Police do NOT have to do this however when they:
– Enter or Search a Public Place;
– Execute a Covert Search Warrant;
– Detain an intoxicated person.
In light of the above, it must be noted that if a police officer is acting unlawfully or even if you feel that a police officer is acting unlawfully, we always advise that you comply with the police officer so that you do not face the possibility of being charged with a Criminal Offence.
It should also be noted that any unlawful or improper conduct of a police officer could give rise to a legal defence to the criminal charge(s) as well as (potential) Civil Proceedings against the NSW police, so our advice is to comply with police and later pursue the remedy later.
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It is very important that you speak with a lawyer so that you can get the appropriate legal advice which you require prior to going to court.
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*This article correctly reflects the Laws of NSW as at 5th May 2023.
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