Police Safety Orders

A Police Safety Order (PSO) can be issued to a person who is, or has been, in a family relationship with another person, if the constable has reasonable grounds to believe that the issue of an order is necessary to help prevent family violence.

An Order can be issued for up to ten days.

PSOs enable frontline officers to take immediate action to protect people at risk of family harm when an investigation fails to establish sufficient evidence of an offence. A PSO provides time for the person at risk to seek support and assistance, including applying for a temporary protection order if desired, and for the bound person to cool down and also seek support and assistance.

Police does not need the consent of the person at risk to issue the order.

The effect of a Police Safety Order

The PSO immediately requires the bound person1 to:

  • surrender any weapon in their control or any firearms licence held to a constable
  • vacate any land or building occupied by a person(s) at risk regardless of whether the bound person has a legal or equitable interest in it
  • a cool down period where the person at risk has time and space to seek support and assistance, including applying for a temporary protection order if desired and for the bound person to seek support and assistance

In addition to the immediate effects of the order, the bound person must not:

  • engage in behaviour that amounts to any form of family violence against a person at risk
  • make any unauthorised contact with a person at risk (see below)
  • encourage any person to engage in behaviour against or to make contact with a person at risk, where the behaviour or contact, if engaged in or made by the bound person, would be prohibited by the order.

Contact by the bound person with a person at risk is authorised and not in breach of an order’s no-contact condition, if the contact is:

  • reasonably necessary in an emergency
  • permitted under any special condition of any relevant protection order
  • necessary in order to attend a family group conference
  • necessary to attend a proceeding before a court or person acting judicially or to attend any matter associated with such a proceeding which would be jointly attended (e.g. a restorative justice conference).

The PSO also protects any children living with the person at risk. If a bound person is a party to a parenting order or agreement, that parenting order is suspended. Any day to day contact or care of a person provided for in the parenting order has no effect and the provisions of the safety order apply.

Issuing Police Safety Orders

The Police may detain the bound person for up to two hours to issue and serve the PSO. There is no right of appeal.

What happens if a Police Safety Order is breached?

If the bound person does anything that is not permitted by the PSO, Police can take the person into custody and put them before the Court.

The Court may issue a warrant to arrest the bound person if it is needed to bring them before the Court.

The Court may:

  • continue with the existing order for the duration for which it was issued, or
  • if the order has not expired, direct that another order be issued in substitution for the earlier order for a period not exceeding 10 days
  • if the order has expired, direct that another order is issued against the bound person
  • adjourn the proceedings so that a District Court judge can consider whether a temporary protection order should be issued.

The Court does not need an application from anyone to issue a Temporary Protection Order.

No criminal convictions result from the issue of a Police Safety Order.

Getting help

There are several agencies you can phone for help:

  • Shine 0508 744 633
  • Are You Ok Information Line 0800 456 450
  • Women's Refuge 0800 REFUGE

Useful Websites

 


1 A person against whom a PSO has been issued.