Police Powers

Dealing with the police can be quite stressful. Victoria Police have broad powers but these are limited by legal safeguards to protect your rights.

When spoken to by police you generally do not have to:

  • Answer any other questions or make any statements
  • Go to a police station unless you have been arrested
  • Participate in an identification line-up
  • Give a DNA sample unless a court orders you to do so.

However, you must identify yourself to police in certain situations. Police can only ask you for your name and address if they have a reasonable belief you:

  • Have committed an offence; or
  • Are about to commit an offence

Police must also tell you the grounds for their belief if they ask for your name and address. You have right to ask for the officer’s name, rank and station and they can be fined if they do not comply with your request.

The following pages contain more information about your rights and obligations in relation to police questioning, powers of arrest, searches and other police directions.


If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.


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