Legal Groundup

Legal Studies from the ground up

Application Excercise 4c

Using the ‘Virtual you be the Judge’ website

The main role of police is to enforce criminal law and prevent crime in order to keep all citizens in the community safe. Police also have the role to investigate crimes, and charge offenders who have allegedly committed an offence.
Police are responsible for community safety and protection. Police uphold the law, provide assistance in personal emergencies, coordinate and manage emergency incidents, enforce road and trafc rules, and deal with missing persons reports.

There are a number of powers police have in order to enforce criminal law. They include the power to:

  • question suspects, which includes asking him/her for their name and address
  • apprehend suspects by arresting them
  • search suspects via a body search and searching property with or without a warrant
  • obtain forensic body samples such as a blood sample to establish DNA evidence
  • take fingerprints
  • ask a suspect to participate in an identification parade
  • take photographs
  • tap telephone calls, text messages, and emails.


Delegated body – local councils/local government

Local councils (local government) enforce various federal, state and local laws for their communities. Local and state laws that councils enforce relate to matters such as litter control, dog laws, animal control, fre control, off-road vehicles, emergency management, and parking. Local councils have the power to issue fines as punishment for breaking the law. In relation to enforcing criminal law they do so when a criminal law is breached in order to hold the offender accountable for what they have done, and to also prevent future crime. Local government is well-placed to lead and participate in crime prevention activity, especially since most crime and immediate safety concerns for communities are local in nature. For example, property crime, theft, antisocial behaviour and vandalism. Therefore, the approach to preventing crime starts with local government.

Delegated body – Worksafe Victoria enforces criminal law by:

  • investigating incidents and alleged offences under the Acts and Regulations it administers
  • prosecuting breaches of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004, the Accident Compensation Act 1985, the Dangerous Goods Act 1985, the Equipment (Public Safety Act) 1994, Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013, and the regulations made under each act
  • conducting prosecutions of offences under Victoria’s health and safety laws and compensation laws¬†
  • conducting litigation and appeals arising from inspector and administrative decisions.