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Police obligations

Information about what police are required to to when they arrest someone.

When arresting someone police may use reasonable force, however they should not use any more force than is necessary to make the arrest. Police should also minimise any indignity or humiliation than is necessary to arrest the person. Excessive force may make the arrest unlawful.

See Use of force.

Use of firearms

Police are allowed to carry firearms however they must have appropriate training and must only draw their gun if they anticipate extreme danger. Police should only use firearms to protect themselves or the public. All police must continue to have regular training in the use of firearms.

See Firearms and weapons—Police use of firearms

No arrest if a charge and summons will be adequate

Police do not have to take person into custody if they believe that person could effectively be brought to justice by issue of a charge and summons.

Person should be told why they are being arrested

The arrested person has to be told why they are being arrested unless the person is caught in the act of offending or if it is not possible because person is resisting arrest. Failure to inform person of reason for arrest may make the arrest unlawful. The arrested person should be told of their right to remain silent and warned that anything they say may be given in evidence before questioning begins.

The person arrested must be brought before court or bail justice within a reasonable period of time.

See Is arrest lawful?

More information


Crimes Act 1914 (Cth)

  • s. 3ZC—use of force when making an arrest

See Crimes Act 1914 (Cth)

Criminal Procedure Act 2009(Vic)

  • s. 6—commencement of a criminal proceeding in the Magistrates' Court

See Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic).


Victorian police manual

The manual has detailed information about police procedure when they are making an arrest.

See Victoria Police Manual—Arrest powers and warrant to arrest.