The Control of Weapons Act 1990 provides members of Victoria Police with the power to search persons for weapons in public places in temporarily designated areas.
The Control of Weapons Act 1990 is the framework for the control of non-firearm weapons. The Act defines weapons and divides them into three categories.
Victoria Police may declare a public area to be designated for up to 12 hours. There are two types of designated area: 'planned' and 'unplanned'.
Planned designated areas
Victoria Police may declare an area if the Chief Commissioner (or delegate) is satisfied that:
- there has been more than one act of violence or disorder with a weapon in the past 12 months and there is a likelihood that there will be violence or disorder with a weapon again
- there has been violence or disorder with a weapon at a previous event or celebration, this event is happening again and there is a likelihood that there will be violence or disorder with a weapon at this event again
Notice of this declaration is advertised in the Government Gazette and a daily newspaper at least seven days before the area is designated for searches to occur.
Unplanned designated areas
Victoria Police may declare an area if the Chief Commissioner (or delegate) is satisfied that it is likely that violence or disorder with a weapon will happen in the area when it is designated and it is necessary to declare the area to prevent or discourage violence or disorder with a weapon happening.
Victoria Police powers in designated areas
Within the designated area, during the period of time declared, members of Victoria Police have the power to:
- stop and search any person, or anything that is in the possession or control of a person, any vehicle or anything in or on a vehicle for weapons
- detain a person or vehicle for so long as is reasonably necessary to conduct a search
- seize and detain any item the Victoria Police member reasonably suspects is a weapon
- request the identity of a person, if a strip search is authorised and conducted
It is an offence to obstruct or hinder a search under s 10L of the Control of Weapons Act 1990.
When a person or a person's vehicle is being searched in a designated area, a member of the police force must give the person a notice. This notice states that the person or vehicle is in a public place that has been designated and briefly outlines the powers of police officers in the designated area.
Reviewed 15 June 2021