Charter of Rights

Authority of police

The nature of police officers' work is such that they must have special authority that should not be abused. These include the right to:

  • Undertake their lawful duties without hindrance, resistance or abuse
  • Require any occupant of a motor vehicle to undergo preliminary breath testing where the driver is unknown
  • Search for and seize property under lawful authority
  • Arrest a person with or without a warrant
  • Lawfully use reasonable force to restrain, effect an arrest or execute a warrant
  • Lawfully require of a person his or her name and address and, where it is reasonably believed that an offence has been or is about to be committed, to stop, search and detain any person or vehicle.

Community rights

In their dealings with the Western Australia Police, members of the community have a right to:

  • Be treated honestly and openly
  • Be treated fairly and with respect
  • Request that police officers identify themselves
  • Communicate or attempt to communicate with a friend, relative or legal practitioner if they are detained in custody
  • Be cautioned prior to being formally questioned as an offender
  • Be fully informed of all charges preferred
  • Only be detained for as long as is lawfully necessary
  • Have their safety and welfare needs met where detained, including the right to necessary medical attention
  • Have their concerns acknowledged and responded to in a professional manner.

Community obligations

The Western Australia Police relies upon the cooperation of all members of the community to make Western Australia a safe and secure place. To play their part, citizens have a moral obligation to:

  • Comply with the law
  • Assist and support their police and report information relating to any offence
  • Treat members of the Western Australia Police with respect and in a civil manner comply with any reasonable directions given by a police officer in the performance of his or her duty.

Credibility

Our credibility is dependent upon our members acting with integrity and in a professional and ethical manner. Each member is expected to demonstrate the following principles in their conduct, behaviour and practices:

  • Honesty
  • Respect
  • Fairness
  • Empathy
  • Openness
  • Accountability.

A vital part in maintaining a high standard of service to the community relies upon an understanding of the rights and obligations of individuals in the community and of members of the Western Australia Police.

Occasionally misunderstandings occur about the roles and powers of police officers. These misunderstandings can leave individuals, who have very little contact with the police, feeling dissatisfied with the level of service or an officer's conduct. This Charter of Rights has been produced to provide a better understanding of the rights and obligations associated with police activities.

You can help us identify the main causes of dissatisfaction with our standard of service, or tell us about members who excel in their duties, by providing a commendation or complaint.