Law Reform Commission of Western Australia
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Project 85 - Police Act offences

Project No. 85

Commenced: 1986
Completed: 1992

The Police Act 1892 (WA) deals with the appointment, duties, discipline and dismissal of police officers and also with police powers (such as arrest, entry, search and seizure) and summary offences. The Act was derived from similar legislation existing in New South Wales, South Australia and England at the time of its enactment. Though it has often been amended, the drafting style of the Act remains old-fashioned and unchanged. Further, many of the offences contained within the Act are either out of date or duplicated in other legislation. A question was also raised as to whether rules regulating the police force and summary offences should properly be contained in the same statute.

Terms of Reference

In 1986 the Commission was asked to ‘review offences created by Parts V, VI and VII of the Police Act 1892 (WA) and to report:

  1. as to whether any of those offences should be abolished; and
  2. with regard to those offences which should be retained, what changes, if any, including changes to their description and definition, are desirable to make the law more readily understood and more relevant to modern conditions’.  


The majority of the recommendations contained in the Commission's Final Report were implemented by the Criminal Law Amendment (Simple Offences) Act 2004.

Last updated: 31-Jan-2017

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