Did police provide their name and place of duty?

ISBN 978-1-925569-11-7
Category Reports and submissions
Publication Date 14 June 2017



Police are required to provide their name and place of duty when they exercise certain powers such as arrest and search. This requirement encourages accountability and transparency on the part of the officers and assists members of the public if they wish to complain about a particular officer. Changes to the law introduced in November 2014 mean that, even where an officer fails to provide this information, their use of the power will still be valid in most circumstances.

For the first 12 months after the changes to the law, between November 2014 and 2015, the Ombudsman kept under scrutiny whether police officers still complied with the requirement. This was to ensure that the changes did not have the unintentional purpose of undermining the safeguard.

The report observed that police used powers that required them to give their name and place of duty on 400,000 separate occasions, affecting 266,000 people, in those 12 months. Unfortunately, due to limitations to the data that was available to complete our review, the Ombudsman was unable to assess the impact of the legislative change. However, community consultations revealed broad support for the laws requiring police to provide their name and place of duty when exercising certain powers, and a perception that this does not always happen.

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