Know Your Rights and ResponsibilitiesBy: Paddington Police Gay & Lesbian Liaison Unit (Sep 19 2022)
A guide to gay behavior in public places
and interaction with the NSW Police
by the Paddington Police Gay & Lesbian Liaison Unit
Homosexuality in NSW is legal but any sort of sex in a public place or behaviour that would cause serious alarm is an offence. However, there is nothing illegal about being in a public park, car park or other area to try to meet another person. Please remember that even this activity is frowned upon by mainstream society so perhaps you should consider being a bit discreet!!! Police often patrol such areas for a number of reasons from maintaining the peace, to protecting you from bashers, to drug related searches.
If you are approached by a police officer you are required to give your name and address. You may volunteer other information if requested but are not obliged to do so. The police will not disclose this information. You should be treated with respect by the police officer and, in turn, treat the officer with respect (what’s the point in causing a drama!). If questioned as to “What are you doing here?” the truth (ie. “Hoping to meet someone”) is perfectly acceptable.
Police have no power to detain a person unless he/she has been lawfully arrested. However, police do have the power to stop, search and detain any person reasonably suspected of having anything in his/her possession whichis stolen, unlawfully obtained or intended for use in committing an indictable offence (and remember possessing drugs is an offence).
Going To The Police Station
Police can ask a person to go to a police station for questioning provided it is made clear that they need go only if they so wish. Police can require a person to accompany them to the police station if they are under arrest.
You can be arrested without warrant if you are caught committing an offence, you are caught immediately after committing an offence, or you are suspected with reasonable cause of having committed an offence. The police can use reasonable force to arrest and detain you, so it’s best to cooperate. If you are arrested, you should ask “Am I under arrest?” and “What an I being charged with?”.
To be lawfully arrested, you should be informed that you are under arrest, may be touched/physically restrained by the police officer, may indicate your submission to arrest by going with the police officer, may indicate your submission to arrest by staying where you are told to by the police. You should be informed of the reason for arrest if you do not know why you are being arrested.
If arrested, do not resist. It is best to cooperate with police where there is nothing to be lost by cooperation. Failure to cooperate may result in further charges being laid. If arrested, do not say or write anything about the offence (i.e. make any admissions without the presence of a lawyer). Do not withhold your name or address from the police if asked. You are not required to volunteer any other information.
Complaints About The Police
In order to create a better relationship between the police and the gay community, a number of Police Gay and Lesbian Community Liaison groups exist. These groups are there so that disputes between police and the gay commnity can be handled without drama. Should you feel that a police officer has acted unreasonably, then you should note the officer’s name, badge number, vehicle registration, time and place.