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Police Powers in Queensland – A Comprehensive List by Brisbane Lawyers

"They also the power to seize anything found at a public place, or on a person, that they reasonably suspect might be evidence of an offence."

Police hold powers under the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000, which you might not be aware of yet. To avoid getting into trouble with the police, know what they are rightfully able to do, and also what your rights are. Here’s a list of police powers in Queensland that you should know about, collected by our Brisbane lawyers:

Police have the power to search a person, premises or a vehicle with or without a warrant, particularly in circumstances where the police officer reasonably believes that the person is in possession of drugs, weapons or stolen property.

Police have the power to stop and search a vehicle and to detain it, if they believe it is being used unlawfully, or if a person in the vehicle is being arrested for some other reason.

  • In public places, police have the power to search for anything that may be evidence of an offence. They also have the power to seize anything found at a public place, or on a person, that they reasonably suspect might be evidence of an offence. They can also open anything that is locked and photograph anything to be used as evidence. However, if the place is only considered a public place while it is open to the public, police must obtain either consent from the occupier of the place or a search warrant.
  • Police may use drug detection dogs in certain circumstances to carry out drug detection activities concerning people and places, without a warrant.
  • A police officer may require a person to state the person’s correct name and address in prescribed circumstances. They usually require evidence that these details are correct.
  • Police have the power to direct someone to leave the premises if they believe that person is interfering with a trade or business, exhibiting disorderly or offensive conduct, or disrupting the peaceable and orderly conduct of any event, entertainment or gathering at a place.
  • Police have the power to stop an event from continuing if they have reason to believe that the event is out-of-control or will become out-of-control. An event becomes out-of-control if there are more than 12 people present, and 3 or more are exhibiting out-of-control conduct that could cause a person to fear violence, damage to property or interference with rights or peaceful passage through, or enjoyment of a public place.
  • A police officer has the power to give directions to any driver of a vehicle or pedestrian where they reasonably consider it necessary for safety or the effective regulation of the road.

You can read the full Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 to get a detailed understanding of whether a police officer is adhering to their obligations under the Act. If you have any questions about an incident you were involved in, please get in touch with our Brisbane lawyers.

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Guest Lawyers act for all persons charged with criminal offences who are required to appear before the Magistrates and Supreme Court. We also conduct appeals in the Court of Appeal and High Court. We provide assistance and defence for a range of criminal matters, including traffic offencesviolent crimesex offences and drug offences, amongst many others.

In addition to representing people all over Queensland, we often travel to other states and territories. Our Brisbane lawyers are admitted to practice all over Australia. For an initial consultation (including in prisons), please get in touch with us either via email or by calling (07) 3211 3007.