What to do when Police or ASIO Knock on Your Door?

We have been requested to provide some guidance on the rights of individuals when engaging with the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, Australian Federal Police or State Police. We have summarised some of your rights as an individual in certain situations.

Please note that this is general information and not legal advice. You should seek legal advice or other professional advice in relation to any particular matters you or your organisation may have.

An important right that features below is the right to speak to a lawyer and you can contact the MLN on 0426 845 306 or contact@muslimlegalnetwork.com for help finding a lawyer with the relevant expertise if necessary.


If you receive a visit from Police:

  1. Remain friendly, calm and polite. How you behave can influence how the police treat you.

  2. If asked, you should provide the officer with your name and address.

  3. You can ask them to identify themselves, and to explain the reason for visiting you. Write down the name of the agency and the details of the police officers present.

  4. If you have any trouble understanding anything they say, always ask for an interpreter.

  5. You are not obliged to invite the Police into your home unless they have a warrant. You are not obliged to go with them unless you agree to go or are placed under arrest.

If police want to search you or your premises:

  1. Ask for a copy of their warrant.

  2. If they do not have a warrant

    • You can tell them that you object to being searched.

    • If they persist, make your objections clear for the record, but do not attempt to stop them.

    • Contact a criminal lawyer immediately.

  3. If they do have a warrant

    • Check that the warrant has not expired

    • Take note of exactly what the warrant authorises the officers to do.

      1. You may be required to provide a PIN for a phone or a password for a computer.

      2. Not all warrants will have this. If the police insist that you have to provide them with that information or you will be charged, seek legal advice.

    • Seek legal advice from a criminal lawyer immediately upon the warrant being executed.

If police want to question you:

  1. The Police officers may ask you to answer some questions.

    • In most cases, police will ask you to submit to a record of interview which will be electronically recorded.

    • There is no legal obligation for you to submit to an interview, even if you are under arrest.

  2. You can politely refuse to answer any questions

  3. We recommend that you contact a criminal lawyer or ask someone in the house to contact a lawyer immediately. Make it clear that you need URGENT assistance.

If police are there to arrest you:

  1. The arresting officer must tell you

    • That you are under arrest

    • The reason for your arrest

    • The arresting officers name

    • What station the police are from

    • That it is your right to remain silent

  2. Remember that you have a right to silence. You are entitled to seek legal advice before speaking with police.

  3. Depending on the arresting agency, your state, and the nature of the allegations being made against you, police may detain you for up to 8 hours without charge to enable the investigation to continue. If Police apply for and are granted a warrant, they are allowed to detain you for an additional period of up to 8 hours.

  4. Whilst in custody you are entitled to contact a lawyer, friend or relative.

If you still do not understand why the police are visiting:

  1. Ask the attending officer whether you are under arrest

  2. If the answer is no, confirm with them that you are free to leave

Exercising your right to silence until you are able to obtain legal advice cannot be held against you, despite any pressure you feel in the moment.


The exception to the above advice is if the officers attending are from ASIO. In the event that ASIO officers have a warrant to question or detain you, you must cooperate with them and answer their questions.

ASIO is able to question people under warrant for a total of 24 hours, in eight-hour blocks. If a person needs an interpreter, they can be questioned for a total of 48 hours.

Please note that this is general information and not legal advice. You should seek legal advice or other professional advice in relation to any particular matters you or your organisation may have.