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Police & the Youth Justice system

If you get into trouble with the law, and break or is suspected of breaking the law, which could be a crime, then the police and the courts might get involved.
If the police think they have enough evidence to reasonably believe you’ve broken the law, they may take you to court.

The court and criminal process you’re taken to may depend on your age. For young people who break the law, they may appear in the Youth Court through the Youth Justice System, which is a different process to which adults would go through if they’re suspected of committing a crime.

This section has more information about what happens when you deal with the police, what happens in court, and how young people are dealt with by the police and court system.

What do the police do?

The role of the police is to protect us and our property, keep order, prevent crime, improve public safety, investigate crime and help communities and people keep safe.

If the police think you’ve broken the law, they must still follow a set of rules that tell them the process they have to follow.

Give me some top tips when dealing with the police!

  • Be polite and respectful
  • Stay calm and in control of your words, body language and emotions
  • Don’t get into an argument with the police
  • Remember, anything you say or do can be used against you
  • Keep your hands where the police can see them
  • Don’t run away
  • Don’t touch any police officer
  • Don’t resist or fight back even if you believe you are innocent
  • Don’t complain on the scene.

The police are not treating me nicely, what should I do?

If you find yourself in a situation where you think the police are treating you unfairly, remember that it is best to complain afterwards rather than while you’re in police custody. To make your complaint more effective, it is important to:

  • Remember the officers’ badge numbers or patrol car plate numbers;
  • Write down everything you remember as soon as possible;
  • Find witnesses who support your version of events.  Their names and phone numbers will help.

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