QLD Queensland Police and Reasonable Suspicion?

Australia's #1 for Law
Join 150,000 Australians every month. Ask a question, respond to a question and better understand the law today!
FREE - Join Now


30 September 2014
My bf & I parked on a field side of a residential street.
(No funny business)
Leaving after sunset, the car battery died.
Bonnet up + another battery + jump cables, but to no avail.
We slept in front seats.
We were then woken up by 4 police officers

Apparently a neighbour called the cops when mechanic trouble is obvious.

P1: told to us to exit car, then made a fuss when I went to put my shoes on and asked if anything was in them.
P2: I don't recall being asked/given time to even respond, and put their hands in my jumper front pocket.
Then asked if I had ID, I went to grab my handbag to get it for them and P1 practically snatched my handbag (didn't put up a fight obviously) and started going through my purse even after finding my licence.

The car is my bf's friend who's overseas, no outstanding fines as far as we were made aware.

Why were they allowed to search me and my things?

Possible reasonable suspicion?

And what would allow them to search the car?

Sarah J

Well-Known Member
16 July 2014
Melbourne, Victoria
Hi straighty180,

I'm sorry that you had to go through that ordeal.

Police search powers without a warrant is regulated by the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000: ss 29-30. Generally, a police will need to hold reasonable suspicion for an offence going on (e.g. being in a car with alcohol, intoxication or illicit drugs) in order to search without warrant. There is a similar power and requirement for searching a vehicle without warrant: ss 31-2.

Have a look at the following pages for further information:
- Qld police: searching persons without a warrant
- Qld police: searching vehicles without a warrant
- Qld government: being searched and your rights

What "reasonable suspicion" means is a matter of fact in the circumstances. The court have held that there must be something in the facts that makes a reasonably minded person to conclude something suspicious. This will turn on the time of the day, the neighbourhood and location, what the neighbour/witness said when they called the police etc.

You can lodge a complaint against the police here: http://www.police.qld.gov.au/corporatedocs/clientServ.htm