Hinder or Resist Police – Public Order Offences – SA
What the Law States according to SA Law for Hinder/Resist Police
A person who hinders or resists a police officer acting in the execution of his or her duty is guilty of an offence and liable to a maximum penalty of a fine of $2500 or imprisonment for six months [Summary Offences Act 1953 s.6].
The scope of a police officer’s duty has been widely interpreted by the courts. Police officers must take all lawful steps that seem necessary to them for keeping the peace, preventing crime and protecting people or property from criminal injury or damage. This applies whether the officer is rostered for work or not. However, where the police officer’s actions exceed that duty, or the officer acts illegally, a charge under this section cannot succeed. For example, a police officer who uses more force than is reasonably necessary to arrest a suspect is not acting in the execution of his or her duty.
Hinder means any obstruction or interference that makes a police officer’s duty more difficult to perform. Any physical obstruction is enough, but the offence is not limited to physical obstruction. For example, a person who deliberately stands in the way of police officers or who argues with them when they are trying to arrest another person may be guilty of the offence of hindering police.
Unlike hinder, resist means actual physical resistance. Simply not doing what a member of the police force asks, or arguing about it, does not mean that a person resists. However, the physical resistance need not necessarily be an assault – for example, the action of pulling away from an officer’s grasp may be enough.
Sometimes there can be no clear distinction between assaulting, hindering and resisting. These charges are often laid in situations where there is fighting and confusion and are used by the police to remove people from the area and to restore order. Hindering is often charged when a third person intervenes in an arrest of a person. Resist on the other hand, is often charged when someone resists a lawful arrest.
People who interfere or argue with the police when they are going about their duties do so at their peril. It can be difficult for members of the public to make sure that the police are acting properly and fairly without exposing themselves to the possibility of arrest.