Powers of Transit Officers

Bus and trains in Western Australia are run by the Public Transport Authority. Security guards or 'railway police' who work for the PTA are called Transit Officers.

When you are on trains, buses or PTA property, some Transit Officers have many of the same powers and responsibilities  as the police, including the power to arrest you.

This information will help you to understand more about the powers of Transit Officers.  Find out:

  • If you have to provide your name, address and date of birth to a Transit Officer
  • If they can search you
  • If they have the power to detain you
  • If they have the power to arrest you
  • If they can remove you from the train

Does a Transit Officer have the power to arrest me?

Yes, if you are at the train station or on Public Transport Authority property (including on buses or trains) and they reasonably suspect you have committed an offence. They also have the power to issue you with an infringement notice.

Can a Transit Officer remove me from a bus or train?

Yes, for example if you damage property, don’t have the correct ticket, or create a disturbance.

Do I have to provide my name, address and date of birth to a Transit Officer?

Yes. For example, if Transit Officers want to issue you with an infringement notice, they can ask you to give your personal details. They can also ask you to provide ID to confirm what you have said is correct.

They can detain you for as long as it takes to verify your personal details.

Can a Transit Officer search me?

Yes, if they believe you are carrying something related to an offence or have committed an offence.

A personal search by a transit officer must be done by someone of the same sex as you, and be no more intrusive than a pat down search.

If you have been arrested, a transit officer can remove items of property from you and use as much force as is reasonably necessary to do so.

Does a Transit Officer have the power to detain me?

Yes, for as long as reasonably necessary to:

  • ask for your name, date of birth and address
  • check what you have told them is true
  • search you, or
  • take you to a police station or wait for police to arrive.

What if I think I've been treated unfairly?

If you think a Transit Officer has broken the law or committed an offence (such as using excessive force or arresting you without any reason), you can report the incident to the police.

Complaints about the actions of Transit Officers can also be made to the Public Transport Authority.




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.