This website is for use by legal professionals (lawyers and law practices) only. If the information is used incorrectly, you could risk losing money or your legal rights. If you are a member of the public looking for free advice about your legal problems please visit, or contact our Legal Help advice line on 1300 792 387, Monday to Friday from 8 am to 6 pm. 

If you decide to use or rely on the information or make decisions based on the information in this website (which VLA does not recommend) VLA is not liable to you or any third party in any way for any loss, damage, costs or expenses you or they may suffer or incur as a result.

Power to arrest or detain

Information about when protective services officers (PSOs) have the power to arrest a person.

Powers of arrest have been given to Protective services officers

From 28 November 2011 Protective services officers (PSOs) who are on duty in a designated place (such as a railway station) may arrest a person if:

  • the person is on bail
  • they are believed to have committed an indictable offence
  • they persist in refusing to give their name, age and address
  • the PSO reasonably believes the person has a graffiti tool (spray-paint)
  • the PSO believes the person has committed a public transport offence, or
  • the PSO is required to execute a warrant issued by a Magistrates' Court (even if they do not have a copy of the warrant).

From 1 April 2018, PSOs also have the power to arrest a person who is on parole if they have breached their parole or if parole has been cancelled. From that date the authority of PSOs to act has been broadened slightly to allow them to act in the vicinity of a designated place.

In all cases, the PSO must hand the arrested person into police custody as soon as is practicable.

The power to arrest comes from various Acts of Parliament.

See 'Related pages' (below) for more detailed information about the PSOs power to arrest.

Powers to apprehend, detain or move on

PSOs can also apprehend detain, or move people on under the following circumstances:

  • Apprehend person:
    • who appears to be mentally ill and suicidal or dangerous
    • they appear under 18 and may taken a volatile substance (if appear under 18)
  • Detain a person:
    • to search them for weapons
  • Move person on if:
    • the person is behaving in a way that is breaching the peace or likely to be a risk to public safety
    • they are believed to be committing a public transport offence.

For details of these powers see Related pages.

More information


Magistrates' Court Act 1989 (Vic)

  • s. 63(2)—empowers a PSO to arrest a person under a warrant from the Magistrates' Court
  • s. 63(3)—requires a PSO to hand and arrested person over to a member of the police as soon as practical

See Magistrates' Court Act 1989 (Vic).

Crimes Act 1958 (Vic)

  • s. 459—power to arrest a person believed to have committed an indictable offence

See Crimes Act 1958 (Vic).