Transit Officers & Security Guards

Queensland

TRANSIT OFFICERS

Do I have to answer any questions?

Can they ask me to leave the area or move on?

Can they fine me?

Can they arrest me?

Can transit officers search/confiscate my things?

POLICE RAILWAY SQUAD

Do I have to answer questions?

Can they ask me to leave the area or move on?

How can I make a complaint?

SECURITY GUARDS AND BOUNCERS

What powers do security guards and bouncers have?

Can a security guard check my bags or pockets?

Can I be banned from a shopping centre?

What can I do if I think a security guard or bouncer has broken the law?

If a security guard arrests you without a good reason or uses unreasonable force, you can:


TRANSIT OFFICERS

Transit Officers patrol trains and train stations across Queensland, and have the power to issue on-the-spot fines for things like not having the right ticket, and things to do with proper behaviour, like eating and drinking, drinking alcohol, swearing and putting your feet on seats. 


Do I have to answer any questions?


Transit Officers can:
 

  • ask to see your ticket,
  • ask to see your concession card (if you are using a concession ticket), 
  • ask for your name, age and address (if they reasonably suspect that you have just committed a relevant offence), and
  • ask for information about a crime (if they reasonably suspect that you or someone else has broken the law).

 

If you don’t answer them, you could be fined as much as $230.

Can they ask me to leave the area or move on?


Transit Officers can ask you to leave Queensland Rail property (including trains). If you do not move they can report you to the police, and detain (hold) you until the police arrive.

Can they fine me?


Yes. Transit officers can give you a fine.

There are lots of things you can be fined for, including:

  • travelling with a valid ticket
  • damaging the train in any way (for example with graffiti)
  • eating or drinking on a train
  • placing feet on seat of train
  • leaving litter in a carriage or on the train tracks
  • drinking alcohol,
  • smoking


Can they arrest me?


A transit officer can hold you if they reasonably believe you have committed a crime like assault, sexual assault or damaging property on public transport. The transit officer must only use force that is reasonably necessary until you can be taken to a police officer. 

The transit officer must tell you why you have been detained and must immediately contact a police officer. The transit officer is not allowed to question you or encourage you to make a statement. They must notify your parent or guardian as soon as possible that you have been detained, and tell them where you are.

A transit officer must only detain a child under 18 as a last resort. This means transit officers should make all efforts to give children warnings or directions to leave the public transport. 


Can transit officers search/confiscate my things?


If a transit officers detains someone and suspects they are carrying a weapon or device that could cause injury, the officer can ask that person to remove their jacket/coat and search them, their jacket, and their belongings.

The search must be performed by an officer of the same sex as the person being searched, and you can ask that the search take place in an area out of view of the public. An officer can only search a child in the presence of the child’s parent or guardian or another transit officer. 

A transit officer may confiscate any item they find on you if the officer believes it may cause harm to someone.

 

POLICE RAILWAY SQUAD

The Queensland Rail Police Service Railway Squad are members of the Queensland Police service who have been specifically trained to work in the rail environment.

They work with Queensland Rail to ensure safety for customers, as well as to reduce anti-social behaviour and crime on the Queensland CityRail network. They patrol trains, train stations and car parks to ensure the safety and security of commuters, staff and property. They can be uniformed or wear plain clothes.

Police have much greater powers than transit officers. If you want to know more about what police can do, check out our factsheet on police powers. 

 

Do I have to answer questions?


Police have the power to detain you in the event that you do not give your name and address.

Can they ask me to leave the area or move on?


Police can ask you to leave Queensland Rail property, and remove you if you refuse to leave.

If you would like more information about the powers of security staff on trains, you can check out the Queensland Rail Safety and Security brochure, available here:

http://www.queenslandrail.com.au/Safety/Documents/QR3660.1%20Safety%20and%20Security%20Brochure_LR.pdf

 

HOW CAN I MAKE A COMPLAINT?

Get the name or badge number of the Transit Officer, Private Security Officer and contact Queensland Rail on 13 16 17.

You can also make a complaint online at www.queenslandrail.com.au/customer service or email them at customerfeedback@qr.com.au.

If you are unsatisfied with the response from Queensland Rail, you can make a complaint to the Queensland Ombudsman by phone, on (07) 3005 7000, or by email or through the online form at: http://www.ombudsman.qld.gov.au.

If you’ve got a complaint about a police officers, please see our factsheet on Complaints about Police.



SECURITY GUARDS AND BOUNCERS


You may have to deal with security guards or bouncers at shopping centres, concerts, nightclubs, pubs or anytime you want to go onto someone else’s property. Security guards usually work for the owner of a shop or nightclub, or the organiser of a concert. They usually wear a uniform similar to police but it’s a bit different, and sometimes they wear a fluorescent vest.

What powers do security guards and bouncers have?


In Queensland, security guards can use force to make you leave private property, but the force has to be reasonable and they can’t cause you serious bodily harm.

Security guards can also arrest you if you’re caught committing a crime on the spot, you have just committed a crime. If a security guard arrests you, they can only use reasonable force. If a security guard arrests you, they have to call the police straight away or take you to the police as soon as possible.

Security guards generally can’t:

 

  • confiscate your stuff
  • search you or your bag without your permission
  • require you to move away from a public area (but they can if it’s private property)
  • give you a fine
  • use excessive force in any situation
  • ban you only because of your age, unless it is a legal requirement (e.g. at a licensed venue)
  • ban you because of your ethnicity, mental illness, disability or because you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender
  • ban someone from a space near the shopping centre, such a footpath outside the building


Can a security guard check my bags or pockets?


Shops and shopping centres are meant to be accessed by the public, but they are privately owned. This means the shop owner or manager can set rules for the shop and can ban anyone who refuses to follow the rules. If they choose to, shops can make checking pockets or bags a condition of entry. If this is the store's policy, it should generally be posted on a sign near the entrance.

Can I be banned from a shopping centre?


There are no laws about banning a customer from a shop, so there is no limit on how long a ban can last, how the ban can be issued, or the reasons for banning someone. This means a manager of a shop or shopping centre can ban a customer for all kinds of reasons, including if they believe a customer has been rude or disruptive. However, shops are not allowed to discriminate against customers based on certain characteristics, including age. 

If you’re received a banning notice, please send us a Lawmail and we can give you more information on what your options are.

What can I do if I think a security guard or bouncer has broken the law?


If you have a problem with a security guard, it’s a good idea to:

  • ask them for their full name and identification number (you can save it in your notes on your phone)
  • write down anything you remember about the situation, including dates, times and what you did and what they said.
  • take pictures on your phone of any injuries that happen to you


If a security guard arrests you without a good reason or uses unreasonable force, you can:


  • make a complaint to the company who employs the security guard (for example, the owner of the shop or the security company which employs the security guard).  Security companies in Queensland have to have a code of conduct and a complaints policy that deals with complaints promptly and fairly.
  • make a complaint to the police about illegal assault
  • in some cases, you may also be able to sue the security guard or shop owner for assault or false imprisonment. 


If you want more information about making a complaint about a security guard, or any other information about transit officers and security guards, please send us a Lawmail.

This page was last updated 13/06/15