2. The Criminal investigation Process
You should be mindful of the fact that the exercise of police authority is regulated. The main police powers are defined by statutes including the: Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities.) Act 2002. (LEPRA) and the Bail Act. 1978 NSW Police powers include:
1. The power to arrest (discussed in more detail below).
2. The power to issue cautions, warnings and infringement notices in relation to minor offences.
3. The right to obtain identification information, (name, address and provision of licence) for example from a driver or someone supervising a learner driver. If a vehicle is suspected of being used for a serious offence, the owner, driver, and passengers must provide their names and addresses to police; other examples: if police suspect that a person is under 18 and carrying or consuming alcohol in a public place or if a person is suspected of committing an offence on a train or part of a railway.
4. The power to stop and detain a person for the purposes of a search if the police have reasonable grounds to suspect that the person is carrying illegal articles (such as drugs) on their person or in their vehicle.
5. The power to enter premises to prevent a breach of the peace, domestic violence or to arrest someone.
6. Emergency powers may be authorised by the Commissioner of Police if there is a large scale public disorder, or the threat of one in the immediate future. Such powers can include the right of police to set up road blocks, declare alcohol free zones, disperse people, and request identification. These powers were given to police by Parliament in response to the Cronulla Riots in December 2005. They are contained in Part 6A of Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002. Additionally police can be given special powers via specific legislation. An example of this is powers given to police during the APEC summit in Sydney in 2007, when access to Sydney’s CBD was cordoned off and monitored by police who also had extraordinary rights to search people. This legislation, the APEC Meeting (Police Powers) Act 2007, was seen by the government of the day as a necessary security measure to protect the heads of state attending the summit. Opponents of the legislation argued that it handed too much power to police at the expense of individual rights. (You may recall that the ABC’S Chaser program controversially managed to breach these security measures).
Citizens have discretion regarding whether to report a crime, assuming the police are not present, which is often the case. There are numerous factors which impact upon whether a citizen, victim or not, reports a crime to police. For example, sexual assaults are offences which are under reported, as are domestic violence related offences. You should consider the many reasons why crimes are reported and not reported. Fear of retribution from the offender is often a relevant concern in relation to domestic violence offenders. Apathy can also be a factor, perhaps a third party who witnessed the crime simply does not want to get involved in the process. Investigating crime
Including: gathering evidence, use of technology, search and seizure, use of warrants Investigating crime
Once police are aware that a crime has allegedly occurred, they will commence the investigation process to establish whether in fact a crime has occurred and to gather evidence to support an arrest and, if applicable, to substantiate charges being proven in court, beyond a reasonable doubt.
In many matters, police have discretion as to whether to proceed with an investigation. This judgement will be informed by factors such as the severity, or otherwise, of the alleged crime, available resources and targeted priorities. You should note that in some cases, such as a domestic violence complaint, police have no discretion and since 1997 when this reform was introduced, must attend and investigate all...
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