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'Move on' powers for antisocial behaviour

Information about powers to remove people because of their behaviour in public.

Protective services officers (PSOs) have broad powers to 'move a person on' or to 'summarily remove them' from a designated place if that person draws attention to themselves because of their behaviour.

What kinds of behaviour could provoke this response?

The offences that could lead to a PSO directing a person to move on or to forcibly remove them from an area are minor transport offences or 'conduct' offences such as swearing or breaching the peace. Most of these offences are found in:

  • Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic) (SOA)
  • Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983 (Vic) (TCMA)
  • Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) (Conduct on Public Transport) Regulations 2015 (Vic) (TCMCPTR)

The wording is very broad and reasonable force may be used. The powers to remove or to 'move on' are in addition to power to issue fine or to charge a person for an alleged offence.

The PSO can 'summarily remove' a person and their belongings from a designated place if the PSO reasonably believes that the person is committing or is likely to commit a public transport related offence and that the offence (if committed) is likely to be a danger or annoyance to the public or a hindrance to someone working at the designated place, including a police, PSO or authorised officer.

There are many potential conduct related offences under the Act and regulations including, but not limited to:

  • claiming an exemption or concession rate that they are not entitled to (s. 220C (TCMA))
  • placing things on railway tracks (s. 221ZC (TCMA))
  • walking or climbing on any rail premises that are not meant to be used by the public (s. 221ZD (TCMA))
  • riding anywhere in a train or road vehicle that is not meant for travel (s. 221ZE(1) (TCMA))
  • holding on to part of a train or rail vehicle while riding a bike, skateboard etc. (s. 221ZE(2) (TCMA))
  • applying the emergency brake (s. 221ZF (TCMA))
  • interfering with any operating equipment or ticketing machine (s. 221ZH, 224 (TCMA))
  • trespass (s. 223 (TCMA))
  • obstructing or encourage another person to obstruct any officer or worker (s. 225 (TCMA))
  • resisting hindering or disobeying a lawful request (s. 225 (3) (TCMA))
  • refusing to vacate a seat for a person who has special needs (age, pregnancy, disability etc) (rr. 43, 44, 45 (TCMCPTR))
  • refusing to remove bag or other property from a seat if asked (r.46 (TCMCPTR))
  • travelling in any way that is contrary to written conditions (r. 47 (TCMCPTR))
  • playing a musical instrument or sound equipment (rr. 28, 29 (TCMCPTR))
  • busking, handing out flyers or selling anything (r. 30 (TCMCPTR))
  • bringing an animal onto a public transport vehicle (unless an exception applies) (r. 39 (TCMCPTR))
  • smoking or drinking alcohol (unless purchased and consumed where authorised to do this) (rr. 31, 32 (TCMCPTR))
  • littering, spitting, failing to clean up after an animal (rr. 33, 34, 39(3) (TCMCPTR))
  • placing feet on the seats (r. 35 (TCMCPTR))
  • scratching, burning or making graffiti (rr. 38, 37 (TCMCPTR))
  • being a nuisance (r. 27 (TCMCPTR))
  • conveying things that may annoy or disturb another person (r. 27 (TCMCPTR))
  • bringing things on public transport that are likely to injure or endanger another person (r. 7 (TCMCPTR))
  • leaning out or stick any part of the body out of the vehicle while it is moving (r. 8 (TCMCPTR))
  • throwing things or drop things at, or from public transport vehicle or premises (r. 10 (TCMCPTR))
  • creating an obstruction on a public transport vehicle or premises (r. 10 (TCMCPTR))
  • bringing bicycle into a train via the first door of first carriage (r. 11 (TCMCPTR))
  • bringing bicycle (except folding bicycle) onto a bus or a tram (r. 11(3) (TCMCPTR))
  • riding a bicycle, wheeled recreational device or wheeled toy on a public transport vehicle (r. 12 (TCMCPTR))
  • holding onto an exterior part of a public transport vehicle while vehicle is moving/ including while riding bicycle etc (r. 15(5) (TCMCPTR))
  • hopping on or off a rail or road vehicle when not authorised to do this or when it is moving or from an unauthorised exit (window eg) or while vehicle is moving (r. 14 (TCMCPTR))
  • applying brake or emergency device without reasonable excuse, such as an emergency) (r. 18 (TCMCPTR)).

The PSO must have a reasonable belief that the offence (if committed) is likely to be a danger or annoyance to the public or a hindrance to someone working at the designated place, including a police, PSO or authorised officer.

The PSO can take any other action that is necessary to prevent, stop or to remove any danger, annoyance or hindrance to the public or people working in that place.

See s. 220—Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983 (Vic) and What are public transport offences?

How much force can be used?

The PSO may use as much force as is 'reasonable in the circumstances'. The law then goes on to state that a person who has been forcibly removed in this way has no right to take legal action against a PSO for their actions.

It is up to the person who is removed to prove that the PSO used more force than was reasonable.

The PSO may also arrest a person for offences under the Act so that they can be brought before a court.

See also 'Power to search' and ' Power to issue a fine' (links below)

Who else has these powers?

The power to forcibly remove a person can be used by a member of the police force or by an authorised transport officer.

Note: The transport officers could have been authorised by the Department of Transport or by a private transport company.


Powers to 'move on' under the Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic)

A protective services officer (or police officer) may direct any person to move on if they are (or are likely to):

  • breach the peace
  • endanger the safety of another person
  • risk public safety
  • cause injury to a person
  • damage property.

They could also issue a fine for these behaviours.

See 'Power to issue a fine' and 'When can people be moved on?' (links below)

Note: These powers were slightly broader between 27 August 2014 and 25 March 2015. During this time the Summary Offences Act 1966 included powers to move a person on if they were:

  • unreasonably obstructing a person or traffic
  • stopping another person from entering or leaving premises
  • making someone afraid of potential violence
  • buying or selling drugs.

More information


Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983 (Vic)

  • s. 208—authorised officer is a person who is authorised by the secretary under ss. 221A or 221AB
  • s. 220—power to remove offenders
  • s. 219—power to arrest without a warrant

See Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983 (Vic).

Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic)

  • s. 6—direction to move on

See Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic).

Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) (Conduct on Public Transport) Regulations 2015 (Vic)

  • s. 3—defines a PSO as an authorised person (conduct) under the regulations
  • Part 2—Conduct affecting safety
  • Div 1—general conduct offences (rr. 7–15)
  • Div 2—interfering with equipment or property offences (rr. 16–21)
  • Div 3—crossing rail and tram tracks (rr. 22–25)
  • Part 3—conduct affecting amenity (rr. 39-43)
  • Part 4—seating (rr. 42–47)
  • Part 5—parking (rr. 48–61)
  • r. 65—prosecution for more than one offence

See Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) (Conduct on Public Transport) Regulations 2015 (Vic).

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