Contributed by AndrewRobson and current to 27 July 2018

An arrest occurs where a person is placed under the control of another person. An arrest can be made with or without a warrant.

Arrest without warrant

Most arrests are made without a warrant.

The police can make an arrest if they reasonably suspect that an offence has been committed, is being committed or is about to be committed (s128(3) Criminal Investigation Act 2006 (WA)). The person being arrested must be informed of the offence for which he or she is being arrested (s138(2) Criminal Investigation Act 2006 (WA).

Arrests without warrant for federal offences (such as the import of prohibited goods) may be made by police where the officer has reasonable grounds for believing the person has committed or is committing an offence and proceeding by way of summons would not be adequate (s3W Crimes Act 1914 (Cth)).

An arrest may be lawful even if the person arrested has not committed an offence.

Court hearing, notice and summons

Police may issue a court attendance notice or summons to a person as an alternative to making an arrest.

The police take the details of a person and later arrange for them to be sent a court hearing notice or summons in the mail which sets out the court date.

Infringement notice

The police may issue an infringement notice with a fine for certain matters – certain traffic matters, stealing not exceeding $500 worth of property, disorderly conduct, certain firearms matters, certain liquor-related matters, certain pawnbroker and second-hand dealer matters and certain security-related matters.

The infringement notice will specify the options for dealing with an infringement notice.

Traffic infringements

Police may issue infringement notices for traffic infringements.

If you have received a traffic infringement for speeding or for contravening a red light you can view the image or video associated with the infringement here:

If you were not the driver you can notify who the driver was on the form and return it to the address on the form.

Further information about traffic infringements can be found on the Western Australia Police Force website.

Criminal Code Infringement Notices

Criminal Code Infringement Notices may be issued by the police for allegations of stealing property valued at up to $500 and disorderly conduct.

Criminal Code Infringement Notices give you the option of paying the amount due and avoiding being prosecuted in court or electing to have the matter heard in court. Paying the amount due is not regarded as an admission.

If you do wish to be prosecuted in court then you complete this election on the infringement form and return it to the address on the form.

Review or additional time to pay can be sought in relation to these infringement notices by emailing

Further information about Criminal Code Infringement Notices can be found on the Western Australia Police Force website.

Enforcement of infringements

Please note that if you ignore the infringement then it will become registered with the Fines Enforcement Registry and you may incur consequences such as incurring further costs; having your vehicle and driver’s license suspended; having your vehicle immobilized; having the number plates removed, and having your property seized and sold.

Further information about the consequences of not paying your infringement can be found on the Department of Justice website.

Transit officers

Transit officers also referred to as public transport security, have similar powers on Public Transport Authority (PTA) property to police officers.

Transit officers can arrest a person at a train station or any other PTA property without a warrant if they reasonably suspect that the person has committed an offence.

A transit officer also has the power to remove a person from a train if they cause an obstruction; damage property; create a disturbance; do not pay the fare; do not have the correct ticket; have an invalid ticket, or refuse to give their name and address to a transit officer.

Transit officers can also issue infringement notices.

Arrest with a warrant

The police can also make an arrest if they have a warrant.

A warrant is a written authority from a Justice, Magistrate or Judge given to the police to arrest someone for a criminal offence, failing to pay a fine or failing to attend court.

Making an arrest

To make an arrest, a police officer should advise the suspect that they are under arrest and provide them with the reason for the arrest.

A police officer can use reasonable force to make an arrest.

If you are arrested

It is important that you keep calm and polite. If you resist, struggle or abuse the police you may have charges laid against you. It is an offence to resist a police officer in the execution of his or her duty, including the making of a lawful arrest (s172 Criminal Code (WA)). You may also be charged with assault if you hit a police officer or threaten to do so (s318(1) Criminal Code (WA)). If you believe that you have been unlawfully detained then you may have a civil claim for false imprisonment and should get legal advice about this later.

If you believe the police have used excessive force or you have been injured by the police, you should immediately report the matter to the officer in charge, see a doctor if you have been injured and get your injuries photographed. You should then obtain legal advice.

If the police ask you to go with them, you should query whether you are under arrest and what the charge is. If you are not under arrest you should ask the officer what power they have to ask you to go with them.

Your entitlements if you have been arrested

Under s137 of the Criminal Investigation Act 2006 (WA) you have the following entitlements following an arrest to any necessary medical treatment; reasonable privacy from the mass media; reasonable opportunity to communicate with a relative or friend to inform them of your whereabouts; and if you are unable to sufficiently understand or communicate in English, to be assisted by an interpreter.

If you have been arrested on suspicion of having committed an offence then you are also entitled to be informed of the offence for which he or she has been arrested and any other offences you are suspected of having committed; be cautioned before being interviewed; be given a reasonable opportunity to communicate with a lawyer; if you are unable to understand or communicate in English sufficiently, not to be interviewed without an interpreter (s138(2) Criminal Investigation Act 2006 (WA)).

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