Know your rights when dealing with members of the New South Wales Police

Ideally you will avoid any of the following situations from occurring, however they do occur hundreds of times daily to individuals right across NSW.

Would you like to know your rights when dealing with any person from the New South Wales Police Force? Want to Learn about the following situations where you are approached by police, to being asked questions by police, to searches of you or a space which you occupy by police, to being arrested.

If You Are Approached by NSW Police

If you are approached by anyone from NSW police, they normally request that you provide them with something that confirms your identity – normally a NSW Drivers License or identity card is what you will be able to provide. If you are requested to provide some form of identification, you should comply.

If requested, you SHOULD comply with this request from the police and provide them with your identification. You MUST legally comply with the request to produce identification in the following situations:

  • If you are under the age of 18 years;
  • If you are suspected of committing an offence on public transport
  • If police suspect on reasonable grounds that you may be able to assist them to investigate a legal / criminal offence;
  • In situations involving traffic offences on NSW roads.

Please note that if the police lawfully require you to provide identification, they may request you to remove anything that hinders their ability to confirm your identity (such as headwear or a helmet)

If NSW Police Start to Question You

You Should Always obtain professional legal advice from an experienced criminal lawyer prior to agreeing to answer questions put to you by members of the NSW Police. If you are having financial difficulties, consider Legal Aid for assistance.

  • You do DO NOT need to answer any questions, except for providing your name and address;
  • You DO NOT have to agree agree to be recorded;
  • You DO NOT sign need to sign anything.

In situations where you have not been arrested, you do not have to attend any NSW Police location in regards to questioning. If you have been arrested by a member of the NSW Police, you generally have the RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT and do not have to say anything.

In regards to specific traffic offences, there are situations where you are required to comply at all times with NSW Police.

  • You have to provide police with your official drivers licence, including if you are accompanying a learner driver;
  • If you were involved in a traffic accident, you have to provide details about the traffic accident to the police if they are called; and
  • If a vehicle is suspected of being used for a serious offence, the owner, driver and passengers must provide their full personal and address details to the police.

If NSW Police Begin Searching You or Your Possessions

A member of the NSW Police can search you (including your car and possessions) under the following situations

  • If you agree;
  • If you are under arrest or in custody;
  • If they have a search warrant;
  • If they suspect on reasonable grounds that you have in your possession, any weapon that may be used to commit a serious offence;
  • If they suspect that your car may have been used in connection with an indictable offence; and
  • If they suspect that you may have something stolen in your possession or obtained illegally.
  • If they suspect on reasonable grounds that you have in your possession, prohibited drugs;

If police are going to search you, they must also:

  • Tell you why they are searching you;
  • The name and station of the NSW Police Officer searching you;
  • At no times should a member of the NSW Police Force make you remove any clothing, except outer clothing, such as a jacket or articles of clothing/protection that stop them from being able to personally identify you. In the event that a member of the NSW Police wishs to strip search you, you are entitled to as much privacy as possible, in that specific situation.

As far as is practicable possibly, NSW Police must use try to use an officer of the same gender as the person being searched.

If You are Arrested by New South Wales Police

If you are arrested by a member of the New South Wales police, you have the RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT. This means if you do not want to, you do not have to participate in any interview conducted by the police or answer any other questions.

NSW Police can arrest you if:

  • They know or suspect on reasonable grounds that you have committed an offence;
  • They think you are about to commit an offence;
  • You have breached your bail conditions; or
  • An application for an AVO needs to be served on you.
  • There is a warrant out for your arrest;

Police are required to tell you at the time of arrest why you are being arrested. If for whatever practical reason you are not informed at the time of arrest, you must be informed as quickly as possible afterwards. NSW Police must use a level of force when arresting you that is considered “Reasonable Force”. Anything deemed excessive may be considered assault.

At the NSW Police Station

If the NSW police charge you with an offence, they must promptly make decision as to whether to release you on bail or keep you in custody. If the police refuse to grant you bail, they are required to take you to court as soon as possible so that you, or someone of your behalf, apply for bail at a nearby local court.

Police in NSW are able to detain you for up to four hours after arrest for an initial investigation and questioning should you decide to answer any questions. At the end of this time period NSW police must determine whether or not they will charge you. In the case you are not charged, you will be free to leave. If you are charged, the decision to grant you bail will take place from here.

All of the contents contained in this article are to provide a general guide to this subject matter only. They are not to be referred to in any personal circumstances. If you require any Criminal Lawyers to assist in dealing with NSW Police you can find one in your area on LawSeeker.