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Move-On Notices

Generally when police approach you…

Firstly… don’t run!

Police will ask you what you’re doing and if you have any identification. It’s best to carry identification as police methods can be threatening and intimidating, however there is no legal requirement to do so. This is standard procedure, yet we are concerned that this information may also be noted on your record.

They may record the information and radio your details in for a background check, and will then ask you to ‘move-on’, usually with a “don’t come back for 24 hrs, 7 days or 28 days…” in a deep authoritative voice.

Move-on’ notices must be reasonable in the circumstances. You cannot be moved-on by police just because you can’t give a reason for being there, and police must not record your details just for being at a ‘known’ beat.

The police have the right to give you a move-on notice directly if you are in a public place and the police believe on reasonable grounds that:

(a) You are obstructing another person or traffic; or
(b) You are harassing or intimidating another person; or
(c) You are likely to frighten a reasonable person; or
(d) You are there to buy or sell drugs

It is not reasonable for police to tell you to stay out of an area for 7 days or more, unless your problem behaviour is very serious and persistent.

It is not reasonable for police to tell you leave a public place just because you are hanging around, or are a known drug user, sex worker or beat user.

If the police tell you to move-on, the police must first:

(a) Tell you his/her name and the name of their police station
(b) Tell you the reason why you must move on

If you don’t obey, they must warn you that it is a legal requirement to obey the direction. If you still don’t obey they must warn you that it is an offence to disobey the direction.

You may be issued with an on the spot fine for $220 or the police may arrest and charge you or give you a court attendance notice. If this happens, get legal advice and let us know.

Even if you think the police have no right to tell you to move-on, it is usually better to do what the police tell you rather than losing your temper or swearing. Swearing or being aggressive with police may give them the right to arrest you and take you to the police station. You can challenge the direction, or complain, later.

Report what happened immediately after the incident, at this point it’s our only option.

Remember to always be in control of the situation and don’t give them any reason to arrest you. It’s better if you are confident and polite when dealing with the police as their tactics and threatening behaviour are designed to intimidate – there’s no need to appear nervous, resist, or provoke them in any way.

We have on occasion experienced officers covering their badge and refusing to answer our questions. They will usually distract you with a derogatory personal comment or bounce the situation back onto you with a threat or some form of intimidating behaviour. If this is the case, don’t bite back. Make sure you record the identification on the side of the police vehicle if possible – the first two letters denote which station they are from and it is necessary to identify them when making a report.

This section relates to NSW law only. Other States and Territories may differ. Information has been obtained from legal advice and ‘Youth Off The Streets’ website www.theshopfront.org Thank you YOTS.