Activist Rights

A technical issue

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The use of force requires police to hold a belief on reasonable grounds that a person is committing or is about to commit an offence. On the other hand, searches powers can be used when police hold a reasonable suspicion that the person has a regulated item.

This means that a question remains about whether police can use force to conduct searches. This question has been resolved under the Drugs Act (section 60 D) – which authorises police to use force to conduct searches. Section 17 A of the Graffiti Act permits an authorised Transport Officer to use force to seize a graffiti item. The Control of Weapons Act authorises force when a police officer has a warrant.

In practical terms however, refusal to permit a search under the Control of Weapons or Graffiti Acts can lead to a charge of hinder or obstruct police which provides the power of arrest, which then provides police with the power to use force.

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