Police Behaviour in Public

NOTE: We recommend that you print out the following and keep a copy in your car or on your person at all times. If you spot a policeman acting inappropriately, you should hand them a copy of this article to inform them that you know the law and that they are breaking it.

The Police are Public Servants. As such, they are subject to the rules of the Police Service and the Laws governing their standard uniform dress and behaviour in public.

This is especially important during any activities they conduct on or beside a road for their own safety and the safety of the driving public.

They are also bound to be properly dressed when going about in any public place armed with a gun or taser.

If a member of the public sees any policeman not conforming to the dress code rules we have the right and a duty to inform them that they are not properly dressed. When we point out any transgression of the rules the policeman in question must immediately take steps to remedy the problem, or we can initiate a complaint against them.

The following is from Chapter 12 in the Police Uniforms Manual on Police Code of Dress and Appearance:

The Queensland Police Service Code of Dress and Appearance is approved by the Commissioner and aims to ensure a consistent and professional standard of personal appearance by Service members to meet community expectations.

The Commissioner has responsibility for the dress and appearance of members of the Service pursuant to s. 4.8:

‘Commissioner’s responsibility’ of the Police Service Administration Act.

Failure to comply with the code of dress may provide grounds for disciplinary action.

Commissioned officers, executive directors, directors, officers in charge of stations/establishments, managers and supervisors are responsible for ensuring members’ compliance with this policy. Members are to adopt and maintain the highest practical standard of dress, personal appearance and grooming consistent with a professional policing organisation.

A uniform is to be neat, clean, appropriately ironed and buttoned or zipped. Members are to be conscious of their appearance and the image they portray to the public as a representative of the Service. Any item of uniform which is dirty, damaged or excessively faded/discoloured or does not meet the required standards, is to be replaced.

The Police are governed by the (Q’ld.) CRIMINAL CODE 1899  

We publish only the Queensland Code. Other states Criminal Code may differ, so it is up to you to read your State’s Criminal Code to ensure you know the laws governing how the Police must appear in public, and how they must behave when dealing with the public.

The Criminal Code states: Police must be in full uniform, including wearing headwear when going armed, or they can be charged with appearing in public so as to cause fear

Section 69 Going armed so as to cause fear

(1) Any person who goes armed in public without lawful occasion in such a manner as to cause fear to any person is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable to imprisonment for 2 years.

(2) The offender may be, and it is hereby declared that the offender always was liable to be, arrested without warrant.

200 Refusal by public officer to perform duty

Any person who, being employed in the public service, or as an officer of any court or tribunal, perversely and without lawful excuse omits or refuses to do any act which it is his or her duty to do by virtue of his or her employment is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable to imprisonment for 2 years, and to be fined at the discretion of the court.

204 Disobedience to statute law

(1) Any person who without lawful excuse, the proof of which lies on the person, does any act which the person is, by the provisions of any public statute in force in Queensland, forbidden to do, or omits to do any act which the person is, by the provisions of any such statute, required to do, is guilty of a misdemeanour, unless some mode of proceeding against the person for such disobedience is expressly provided by statute, and is intended to be exclusive of all other punishment.

(2) The offender is liable to imprisonment for 1 year.

205 Disobedience to lawful order issued by statutory authority

(1) Any person who without lawful excuse, the proof of which lies on the person, disobeys any lawful order issued by any court of justice, or by any person authorised by any public statute in force in Queensland to make the order, is guilty of a misdemeanour, unless some mode of proceeding against the person for such disobedience is expressly provided by statute, and is intended to be exclusive of all other punishment.

(2) The offender is liable to imprisonment for 1 year.


26 Roadblocks

(1) A police officer may establish a roadblock if the police officer reasonably suspects a roadblock may be effective to apprehend or locate a person in a vehicle who—

(a) has committed a seven-year imprisonment offence; or
(b) may be unlawfully depriving someone else of liberty; or


For what is unlawful deprivation of liberty, see the Criminal Code , section 355.

(c) is being unlawfully deprived of liberty; or
(d) has escaped from lawful custody; or(e) may be endangering the life or safety of someone else.

(2) In deciding whether to establish a roadblock, the police officer must have regard to the following—

(a) when and where the relevant circumstances happened;
(b) information the police officer has about where the person sought may be travelling in a vehicle.

(3) A police officer may stop all vehicles or any vehicle at the roadblock and detain each vehicle stopped for the time reasonably necessary to search it to find out if a person mentioned in subsection (1) is in it.

27 Procedure for establishing roadblocks

Before a police officer decides where to establish a roadblock, the senior police officer present must consider—

(a) the effect the roadblock may have on road safety and public safety; and
(b) the likelihood of a dangerous situation happening if a person sought is located at the roadblock; and

(c) any other relevant safety considerations.


If the person sought is believed to be armed and dangerous, the police officer establishing the roadblock may decide not to establish it in a populated location.

28 Record of roadblock to be made

The senior police officer present at a roadblock must ensure—

(a) a record is made of relevant details of the roadblock including, for example, the reasons for establishing it, when and where it was established, for how long, and whether the roadblock led to a person sought being located or arrested; and

(b) a copy of the record is given to a person nominated by the commissioner for the purpose.

637 Supplying police officer’s details

(1) This section applies if a police officer—

(a) searches or arrests a person; or
(b) searches a vehicle; or
(c) searches a place, other than a public place; or
(d) seizes any property; or
(e) stops or detains a person or vehicle; or
(f) requires a person to state his or her name and address; or
(g) gives to a person a direction under section 48 or 177; or
(h) enters a place to make an inquiry or investigation or to serve a document; or
(i) exercises a power as a public official.

(2) The police officer must, as soon as reasonably practicable, inform the person the subject of the power of the following—

(a) if the police officer is not in uniform—

(i) that he or she is a police officer; and
(ii) his or her name, rank and station;

(b) if the police officer is in uniform—his or her name, rank and station.

(3) If the police officer is not in uniform, the police officer must also produce for inspection his or her identity card.

(4) If the police officer is searching a person, vehicle or place, other than under a search warrant, the police officer must state the purpose of the search and the reason for seizing any property.

(5) If 2 or more police officers are searching the vehicle or place, only the senior police officer present is required to comply with subsections (2) to (4) .

(6) However, if a person asks another police officer for the information mentioned in subsection (2) or to produce an identity card, the police officer must give to the person the information requested or produce the identity card.

Less serious complaints

If a police officer has been slow in responding to your call, rude to you, or has failed to identify himself/herself, you should:




  12.2 When to wear prescribed headdress 


Uniformed employees should wear the prescribed headdress at all times when on duty and in view of the general public unless: 

(i) in a police establishment; 
(ii) indoors and not in the view of the general public e.g. a private residence; 
(iii) travelling in a motor vehicle; 
(iv) travelling on public transport; 
(v) wearing of headdress is not practical due to environmental or operational considerations; or 
(vi) prior approval has been obtained from a commissioned officer, executive director or director (or their delegate). 

12.2.1 How to wear prescribed headdress 


Unworn headdress are not to be hung from, or attached to the utility belt. The shape and construction of headdress is not to be altered in any way. 

Female officers have the option of wearing the unisex peaked cap or traditional female cap. 

Service issue headdress is to be worn square to and level on the head in the manner depicted below  

Another ‘note’ on 12.6 (Ref. Vests)

12.6 Reflectorised safety vests


Officers are to wear Service issue reflectorised safety vests at all times when performing in or adjacent to traffic,…

A roadway extends from property boundary to property boundary (foot-paths). This would be included in “in or adjacent to traffic”.

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