Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 No 156
Powers of entry and search of premises
Powers of authorised officers to enter premises
An authorised officer may enter:any premises at which the authorised officer reasonably suspects that any industrial, agricultural or commercial activities are being carried out—at any time during which those activities are being carried out there, andany premises at or from which the authorised officer reasonably suspects pollution has been, is being or is likely to be caused—at any time, andany other premises—at any reasonable time.A power to enter premises conferred by this Act authorises entry by foot or by means of a motor vehicle or other vehicle, or by an aircraft or vessel, or in any other manner.If entry is effected by means of an unmanned vehicle, vessel or aircraft, the vehicle, vessel or aircraft must be operated by or under the authority of an authorised officer.Entry may be effected under this Act by an authorised officer with the aid of such authorised officers or police officers as the authorised officer considers necessary and with the use of reasonable force.Entry may be effected to any premises with the authority of a search warrant under section 199.
Entry into residential premises only with permission or warrant
This Part does not empower an authorised officer to enter any part of premises used only for residential purposes without the permission of the occupier or the authority of a search warrant under section 199.
Powers of authorised officers to do things at premises
An authorised officer may, at any premises lawfully entered, do anything that in the opinion of the authorised officer is necessary to be done for the purposes of this Chapter, including (but not limited to) the things specified in subsection (2).An authorised officer may do any or all of the following:examine and inspect any works, plant, vehicle, aircraft or other article,take and remove samples,make such examinations, inquiries and tests as the authorised officer considers necessary,take such photographs, films, audio, video and other recordings as the authorised officer considers necessary,require records to be produced for inspection,examine and inspect any records,copy any records,seize anything that the authorised officer has reasonable grounds for believing is connected with an offence against this Act or the regulations,for the purposes of paragraph (h), direct the occupier of the premises where the thing is seized to retain it at those premises or at another place under the control of the occupier,do any other thing the authorised officer is empowered to do under this Chapter.The power to seize anything connected with an offence includes a power to seize:a thing with respect to which the offence has been committed, anda thing that will afford evidence of the commission of the offence, anda thing that was used for the purpose of committing the offence.A reference to any such offence includes a reference to an offence that there are reasonable grounds for believing has been committed.
Power to disable intruder alarms
An authorised officer may turn off or otherwise disable a building intruder alarm or a motor vehicle intruder alarm that is or has been sounding in breach of this Act or the regulations.In this section:means a device that:incorporates or connects to a sounding device, andbeing a device that is attached to or forms part of the motor vehicle for use as an intruder alarm, whether or not the device is also designed to be used for any other purpose.on being triggered, causes the sounding device to emit sound,
Application for search warrant An authorised officer under this Act may apply to an authorised officer within the meaning of the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 for the issue of a search warrant if the authorised officer under this Act believes on reasonable grounds that:a provision of this Act or the regulations is being or has been contravened at any premises, orthere is in or on any premises matter or a thing that is connected with an offence under this Act or the regulations.Issue of search warrant An authorised officer within the meaning of the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 to whom such an application is made may, if satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for doing so, issue a search warrant authorising an authorised officer under this Act named in the warrant:to enter the premises, andto exercise any function of an authorised officer under this Part.Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 applies to a search warrant issued under this section.Division 4 of Part 5 of theDefinition In this section:connected with an offence means:matter or a thing with respect to which the offence has been committed, ormatter or a thing that will afford evidence of the commission of an offence, ormatter or a thing that was used, or is intended to be used, for the purpose of committing the offence.includes an offence that there are reasonable grounds for believing has been, or is to be, committed.is defined in the Dictionary.
Authorised officers may request assistance
A person may accompany an authorised officer and take all reasonable steps to assist an authorised officer in the exercise of the authorised officer’s functions under this Part if the authorised officer is of the opinion that the person is capable of providing assistance to the authorised officer in the exercise of those functions.
Assistance to be given to authorised officers
This section applies for the purpose of enabling an authorised officer to exercise any of the powers of an authorised officer under this Part in connection with any premises.The EPA or other regulatory authority that appointed the authorised officer may, by notice in writing given to the owner or occupier of the premises, require the owner or occupier to provide such reasonable assistance and facilities as are specified in the notice within a specified time and in a specified manner.Assistance and facilities can be required under this section, whether they are of the same kind as, or a different kind from, any prescribed by the regulations.
Care to be taken
In the exercise of a power of entering or searching premises under this Part, the authorised officer must do as little damage as possible.
The EPA or other regulatory authority that appoints an authorised officer must compensate all interested parties for any damage caused by the authorised officer in exercising a power of entering premises (but not any damage caused by the exercise of any other power), unless the occupier obstructed or hindered the authorised officer in the exercise of the power of entry.