A Police Safety Order (PSO) is issued when police have reasonable grounds to believe that domestic violence may occur or has occurred, and when there is not enough evidence to make an arrest. Its purpose is to protect people at risk from violence, harassment, or intimidation.
The police may detain the bound person for up to two hours to issue and serve the PSO. There is no right of appeal.
A PSO can last for up to five days, but is usually issued for one or two days, and stays in force until the expiry time and date stated. The police don’t need the consent of the person at risk to issue the PSO.
The person bound by the order must leave the address while the PSO is in force, even if they own the address and/or normally live there. They must not assault, threaten, intimidate or harass the person at risk, or encourage anyone else to do the same.
They must not follow, stop or contact in any way the person at risk in any place: at home, at work, or anywhere else the person at risk visits often. They must also surrender all firearms and their firearms licence to the police for the duration of the PSO.
The PSO also protects any children living with the person at risk, and any Parenting Orders or agreements permitting access or care by the bound person are suspended for its duration. No criminal convictions result from the issue of a Police Safety Order.
What happens if a PSO is breached?
If the bound person does anything that is not permitted by the PSO, the police can take the person into custody and put them before court.
The court may issue a warrant to arrest the bound person, if that’s required to bring them before the court.
The Court may:
- release the bound person without any further order
- direct the police to issue another PSO
- issue a Temporary Protection Order (if the person at risk does not object).
Other offences committed during the breach – such as assaults or property damage – will be investigated, and charges laid if sufficient evidence exists.
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