Under arrest and police powers

The law gives police officers the authority to keep the peace, prevent crime and protect property from criminal damage. These powers are greater than what an ordinary person can legally do and include the power to:

  • arrest and detain people
  • obtain information
  • carry out searches
  • seize things, and
  • obtain identifying information, such as DNA and fingerprints.

It is important that you understand what the police can lawfully do, and what things you must do when asked by police, in these circumstances. 

The law also gives people in certain jobs, such as security guards, bouncers and Transit Officers special permissions to stop, question, search and possibly arrest people.


The information displayed on this page is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia aims to provide information that is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided on this page or incorporated into it by reference.