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When can people be moved on?

General move on powers

A member of the police (or a protective services officer (PSO) who is on duty at a designated place, like a railway station) may direct a person or a group of people to leave the public place if that officer has reasonable grounds to suspect that they are:

  • disrupting or are likely to disrupt the peace
  • behaving in a way that may be dangerous to public safety
  • likely to cause injury or damage to property.

They do not have to do this in writing, they can just tell everyone to move on. They can also ask you for your name and address if they are going to give you a direction to move on.

Police cannot direct you to move on if you are demonstrating about a political issue or taking part in employment strike action.

See ss. 6(1)(a), 6(1)(b), 6(1)(c)—Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic).

Move on powers at or near a police station

If a person is at or near a police station, police or protective service officers can ask them why they are there. If the police do not think that the person has a legitimate reason for being there, they can also ask for that person’s name and address. Legitimate reasons for being at a police station include:

  • asking the police for help
  • reporting a crime
  • giving information to the police
  • being required to be at a police station. For example, it is part of the person’s bail conditions.

Near a police station includes areas next to a police station. For example, a car park or out the front.

A police officer or protective services officer can ask a person to leave or stay away if they believe two things:

  • the person does not have a legitimate reason for being there
  • this is necessary to preserve the peace or maintain the security of the police station.

Police can give a person a written direction to stay away from the police station for up to seven days. The person must follow that direction unless the person later has a legitimate reason to return.

Penalties

A person who refuses to comply with a direction may be removed, arrested or fined up to five penalty units if they:

  • do not answer these questions
  • do not leave and stay away when asked or directed
  • try to stop a police officer or protective service officer carrying out these duties
  • try to stop someone from going into or leaving the police station.

If a protective service officer arrests a person, they must hand the person over to a police officer as soon as reasonably possible.

Broader move on powers

Between 28 May 2014 and 25 March 2015, officers had broader powers. They were able to move a person on if they had reasonable grounds to suspect that the person was, or was likely to:

  • unreasonably obstruct a person or traffic
  • stop another person from entering or leaving premises.

Officers could also give an instruction to a person to move on if they reasonably suspected that a person:

  • was making other people afraid of potential violence
  • had committed an offence in that public place within the last 12 hours
  • was there to buy or sell drugs.

See ss. 6(1)(d), 6(1)(e), 6(1)(f), 6(1)(g), 6(1)(h)—Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic).

Note: These broader powers were abolished on 25 March 2015, however if a person had been charged during the period where the broader powers applied, they may still have to answer the charges.

Penalties

Fine

Refusing to move on

A person who refuses to comply with a direction to move on may be fined up to 5 penalty units.

If the matter is dealt with by infringement notice, the infringement penalty will be 2 penalty units.

See ss 6(4), 60AB(3)—Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic).

More information

Legislation

Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic)

  • s. 6—direction to move on
  • s. 6(2)—direction to move on may be given orally
  • s. 6(3)—a person may be directed to stay away from the area for up to 24 hours
  • s. 60AB(3)—infringement penalty is 2 penalty units for a section 6 offence

See Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic).

Police Act 2013 (Vic)

  • s. 59A - powers relating to police premises - requests and directions
  • s. 59A(1) - power to request person to provide reasons, name and address
  • s. 59A(2) - power to direct person to leave or not enter police premises
  • ss. 59A(6) and (7) - penalty is 5 penalty units for section (1) or (2) offence

See Police Act 2013 (Vic)

Updated