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Police are able to stop and search a person without a warrant, but there are certain limitations.

Police are able to stop and detain, conduct a frisk search and seize an object if they suspect on reasonable grounds that:

  • the person is carrying a thing that is stolen/otherwise unlawfully obtained or relevant to a serious offence (evidential material) AND
  • the ‘stop and search’ power is necessary to prevent the thing from being concealed, lost or destroyed AND
  • it is necessary to exercise the power without the authority of a search warrant because the circumstances are serious and urgent.

Crimes Act 1900 (ACT) s 207

What can they search?Edit

A person, or clothing that is being worn by a person, or property in the immediate control of a person.

What can they seize?Edit

Police may seize any thing s/he suspects on reasonable grounds to be connected with an offence that is found in the course of the search.

This can only be done if the search was

  • performed by a police officer after obtaining the person’s <a href="#consent">Consent to the search </a>
  • taking the person into lawful custody in relation to an offence OR
  • under a warrant issue OR
  • in circumstances of seriousness and urgency OR
  • under a court order, or otherwise under a provision of an ACT law.

Drugs and Dependence Act 1989 (ACT) s 184

<a name="consent"> ===Consent to the search===</a>

Before obtaining the consent of a person to seize their property, the police officer must inform the person that s/he may refuse to give his/ her consent.


A police officer who obtains the consent of a person for s 184 shall ask the person to sign an acknowledgment


(a) that the person has been informed that s/he may refuse to give consent; and


(b) that the person has given his/her consent; and

(c) of the date and time when the person gave his/her consent.


There is a presumption that person did not give consent, unless acknowledgment produced in evidence (but this presumption is rebuttable)