Police powers to stop and search persons
In NSW, police powers are established in the Law Enforcement Powers and Responsibilities Act 2002.
The powers of the police to require a person’s identity to be disclosed are contained in Part 3 of LEPRA. Under Section 11, a police officer may require a person to disclose his or her identity if the officer suspects on reasonable grounds that the person may be able to assist in the investigation of an alleged indictable offence because the person was at or near the place where the alleged indictable offence occurred, whether before, when, or soon after it occurred. An indictable offence is generally a more serious offence.
Further, A police officer may require a person to disclose his or her identity if the officer proposes to give a direction to the person in accordance with Part 14 of LEPRA for the person to leave a place.
A person may be liable to a penalty for giving false or misleading information about their identity.
Under Section 21 a police officer may, without a warrant, stop, search and detain a person, and anything in the possession of or under the control of the person, if the police officer suspects on reasonable grounds:
- a person has anything stolen or unlawfully obtained,
- has anything used or intended to be used in or in connection with the commission of a relevant offence or
- has in a public place a dangerous article that is being or was used in or in connection with the commission of a relevant offence.
Division 2 of LEPRA authorises police officers to use drug detection dogs in certain places without a warrant. These are limited to:
- pubs, clubs and other places where alcohol is served
- entertainment events, including sporting events, concerts, dance parties and street parades
- on public transport ad stations (but only certain bus routes)
- in tattoo parlours
- in and around the area of Kings Cross (may include residential areas, if within the defined zone under the law)
If you think you have been subject to an unlawful stop and search by police and require legal advice, please contact Sydney Criminal Defence Lawyers on (02) 8059 7121