A member asked almost 9 years ago

Do police have any power to tell you to be quiet in a public area?

Do police have any power to tell you to be quiet in a public area? My friends were singing really loudly because their team won.

Law Advisor Research Team
Researchers at LawAdvisor
In Victoria, a police officer has the power to tell a person or group of people in a public place to “move on” if the officer reasonably suspects that the person is breaching or is likely to breach the peace. It is possible that the police were exercising this power when they told your friends to be quiet if their singing was loud enough to breach the peace.
More generally, it is an offence in Victoria to sing an obscene song in public, to use obscene language in public, or to behave in a disorderly manner in a public place. It is possible that the police considered your friends’ singing to be either obscene or disorderly, and decided to exercise their discretionary power to tell your friends to be quiet. The police have the power to do things like this as part of their broader duty to maintain public order and safety.
However, there are limits on police powers. If you think the police acted improperly towards your friends, you can lodge a formal complaint.

Suggested way forward

You can complain directly to Victoria Police or lodge a complaint with the Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission by visiting www.ibac.gov.au. Note, however, that most complaints made to IBAC end up being investigated by Victoria Police internally, and are therefore not entirely independent.

In this case, you should consider speaking to a lawyer who can advise you on the full range of legal options that may be available to you. By pressing the “Take Action” button, LawAdvisor can help you search for experienced lawyers and obtain fee proposals for their services. Costs for legal advice and representation will vary between providers based on experience and the scope of services.

Answered almost 9 years ago   Legal disclaimer

Thank
Me
Adam Akbulut

You may want to consider the provision of Section 6(5)(c) of the Summary Offences Act 1966 which effectively provides the legal defence of "speaking, bearing or otherwise identifying with a banner, placard or sign or otherwise behaving in a way that is apparently intended to publicise the person's view about a particular issue".

One could potentially mount an argument that singing your football teams theme song loudly in public is behaving in a manner which intends to publicise how you feel about a particular issue. Depending on which Magistrate you drew on the day, you may find a sympathetic ear but you would need to weigh up the cost of the legal representation plus a day off work to consider whether it is worth taking the risk.

over 8 years ago

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