What powers do railway police have?
Railway police are technically called transit officers. Transit officers are persons appointed to act as security officers for public transport. Some transit officers have the same powers and obligations on Public Transport Authority property as any police officer.
For more information about police powers see:
If you are on the train or any Public Transport Authority property then transit officers are allowed to :
- ask you for your name, address and date of birth
- ask you to produce documents to verify that the information you have provided is correct
- detain you for the length of time it takes to obtain such information
- search you
- arrest you
- remove you from a train.
Do I have to provide my name, address and date of birth?
Can a transit officer search me?
Yes, a transit officer can search you and your possessions if they reasonably believe you are carrying something relating to an offence.
You may be searched even if you have not been arrested as long as the railway police officer reasonably suspects that you have committed an offence.
An officer of the same sex as you must carry out the search. If this is not possible, the transit officer can detain you for as long as it reasonably takes to arrange this or take you to a place where you can be searched.
A search by a transit officer should be no more intrusive than a pat down search.
If you have been arrested, a transit officer can remove items of property from you. They can use force if you resist but they can only use as much force as is reasonably necessary.
Do transit officers have the power to detain me?
A transit officer may detain you for as long as is reasonably necessary to ask for your name and address and view documentation to verify that information, or to have you searched or to take you to a police station.
Do transit officers have the power to arrest me?
A transit officer can arrest you at the train station or on Public Transport Authority property without a warrant if they reasonably suspect that you have committed any offence.
For example, you may be arrested if you:
- are drunk
- are trespassing on Public Transport Authority property
- behave in a violent or offensive manner on a train or at a train station
- do or attempt to do anything that may endanger people's lives
- refuse to give your name and address when required to do so or give a false name or address.
A transit officer may also issue infringement notices instead of arresting you.
Can transit officers remove me from the train?
A transit officer can remove you from a train if, for example, you:
- cause an obstruction
- damage property
- create a disturbance
- don't pay the right fare
- don't have the correct ticket
- have an invalid ticket
- refuse to give your name and address to a railway police officer when requested to do so.
Who do I contact if I want to complain about transit officers?
- If you think that you have been unlawfully arrested or searched by a transit officer, you should seek legal advice immediately and see a doctor if you have been injured.
- Complaints can be made through the Public Transport Authority via telephone on 13 62 13 or online.
- A complaint can be made to the State Ombudsman on (08) 9220 7555 or 1800 117 000, but only in relation to a complaint about a matter of administration.
Last reviewed: 11/02/2013