The Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 (NSW) (the Act) is a powerful piece of legislation as it outlines what police officers can and can’t do.
However did you know that you have powers too?
Power #1: Asking for the name of the police officer and obtaining proof that they ARE a police officer
Under Section 202(1) of the Act, if a police officer is about to subject you to the exercise of their power, then they MUST provide to you:
(a) Evidence that the police officer is a police officer (unless the police officer is in uniform);
(b) The name of the police officer and his or her place of duty; and
(c) The reason they are exercising their power.â
Furthermore, subsections (2) and (5) of that section provide that a police officer must comply with a request for the above information from you as soon as it is reasonably practicable to do so. They must do so before giving a direction, requirement or a request.
Importantly, you can only use this power if you are subject to the exercise of a police power mentioned in Section 201 of the Act. Such police powers include:
(a) a power to stop, search or arrest a person,
(b) a power to stop or search a vehicle, vessel or aircraft,
(c) a power to enter or search premises,
(d) a power to seize property,
(e) a power to require the disclosure of the identity of a person (including a power to require the removal of a face covering for identification purposes),
(f) a power to give or make a direction, requirement or request that a person is required to comply with by law,
(g) a power to establish a crime scene at premises (not being a public place).â
While the above may seem trivial, it is especially important to know that the person you are dealing with is actually a police officer â most of the time this may be obvious (for example, where the officer is in uniform), but there are occasions where you might not be able to tell at all.
In such a situation it is better to ask than to be deceived by a potential conman or troublemaker who is not, in fact, a police officer.
Don’t be shy, just ask.
To be continued!
By Andre Lim, Solicitor of McAuley Hawach Lawyers.
McAuley Hawach Lawyers
Telephone: (02) 9633 1826
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