Last updated 16 June 2016

What is required for a valid arrest will depend on the circumstances of the particular situation. However, a police officer must, in any circumstances, inform the person that they are under arrest and indicate the nature of the offence for which they are under arrest (s 391 Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 (Qld) (PPR Act)). It is not necessary to specify precisely the charge as long as the person knows why they are being arrested. If it is obvious from the facts or if the conduct of the person makes it difficult to communicate, then it is not necessary to formally tell the person the reason for the arrest.

Using force to make an arrest

A police officer may use as much force as is reasonably necessary to arrest a person, but not such force as would result in grievous bodily harm or death (s 615 PPR Act), unless there is a critical situation in prescribed circumstances (s 616 PPR Act). The reasonableness of force is to be tested objectively in all circumstances.

A police officer who is lawfully arresting a person may call upon members of the public for assistance (s 612 PPR Act).

A police officer (or any person assisting police to make an arrest) bears no criminal responsibility for using reasonable force in making an arrest, even if a warrant is invalid or a mistaken identity results in the arrest of the wrong person, so long as the police officer is acting in good faith and on reasonable grounds.

Discontinuing an arrest

A person’s arrest can be discontinued in certain circumstances including where the reasonable suspicion that justifies the arrest is no longer present or after an interview with police (s 376 PPR Act). Where someone is arrested for being drunk in a public place, the arrest can be discontinued once they are taken to a hospital or safe place (s 378 PPR Act). For drug matters, discontinuance can occur once a person is referred to drug diversion (s 379 PPR Act).