In Victoria, the only information you must provide to the police is your name and address. You do not have to answer any other questions asked by the police, and we strongly advise you to exercise your right to silence.
Police must give a reason why searching you is necessary. If they do not, you have the right to ask. We also strongly advise you to verbally register your non-consent to a search by saying: “I do not consent to this search”. Do not physically resist police, however, as it is an offence to do so. Comply with a search if police insist, then file a complaint after the fact.
If you do not cooperate, police may use force to make you comply with a search, usually by placing you under arrest. Ask the officer in charge for their name, rank and station. This will help you take legal action or file a complaint at a later stage.
During a strip search, police can’t legally:
- Make you squat and cough
- Touch your body in anyway
- Perform a cavity search of any sort, such as making you remove a tampon
Only a doctor can complete an internal body search, you do not have to agree to an internal body search. The police must get a court order to do the search if you refuse.
A strip search must be conducted:
- In a private area
- By an officer of the same gender as you
- An indication by a drug dog alone is not sufficient grounds for a strip search
- A guardian or independent person must be present if you are under 18.
Record in detail what happened as soon as possible after a search. This will assist you in filing a complaint or pursuing legal action later.