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When Can NSW Police Search a Person Without a Warrant?

Section 21 of the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 gives police officers in New South Wales the power to stop, search and detain a person and anything in the person’s possession or under the person‘s control without a warrant if the officer suspects on reasonable grounds that the person possesses or controls:

  1. Anything stolen or otherwise unlawfully obtained,
  2. Anything used or intended for use in the commission of an offence,
  3. Any dangerous article which is in a public place and is being used or was used in the commission of an offence, or
  4. Any prohibited plant or prohibited drug.

It is important to be aware that providing informed consent to a search will make an otherwise unlawful search, lawful

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