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Frequently asked questions

Answers to questions commonly asked of police are listed below under the following headings:

Cars & driving


Fires & burning

Lost property

Restraining orders and parenting plans & orders

Police checks or clearances

Fines and demerit points


Cars & driving

Q: Who can I report hoon driving to?

A:  Any matters relating to hoon or dangerous driving can be reported to your local police station or to the 131444 Police Assistance line. This includes burnouts , donuts, speeding, snaking and other dangerous driving.

Q: I have just had an accident, what do I do ?

A:  Refer to full details on our Reporting a Crash page.

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Q: My vehicle only has 5 seatbelts, can I have more people in my vehicle at one time?

A:  This is not advisable,  but so long as the seat belts provided in the vehicle are being occupied (under 16yrs to have priority) you may carry the extra person. However Compulsory Third Party insurance and private insurance do not provide any cover for the occupants in the event of an accident.

Q:  Can I have a baby/child seat in the front seat of a vehicle?

A:  No, an approved baby seat/capsule can only be fitted to the rear seat of a vehicle and must be attached to an anchor point.  Exemptions may only apply to buses.

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Q: Can I report an abandoned or stolen vehicle that has been left in a street for some time? 

A: Yes you can, it would however be very helpful if you have a registration number for us, as we can check our records to see if we are already aware of its location.

When a vehicle has been left abandoned on private property, you need to get advice on how to dispose of goods under the Unclaimed Goods Act by contacting a lawyer, The Adelaide Magistrates Court (Civil)  (08) 8204 2444,  or The Legal Services Commission Telephone Advice Line 1300 366 424.

If the vehicle is not abandoned or stolen but is incorrectly parked, it becomes a Council issue.

If the vehicle is parked across a driveway and it is an emergency and you can't get out, police will attend. However if you need to get into your property, you will have to park in the street until the vehicle is moved, and then, that becomes a Council issue.

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Q : My neighbours alarm is going off, what can I do?

A :  Police do not attend alarms unless they are monitored by an approved alarm company or there is some suggestion of criminal activity. This could include, but is not limited to;

  • Doors or windows open (that are not normally open)
  • Glass heard smashing
  • Persons seen/heard jumping fences
  • Strange vehicle parked in the driveway or out the front etc.

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Q : My neighbours are playing loud music, when is the cut off time for making noise?

A : There is no cut off time where music is concerned, if it is that loud, and causing you a problem you have the right to complain at any time of the day whether it be lunch time, early evening or late at night.

In regards to domestic noise, lawn mowers, chain saws, revving motors etc allowable times for use is 8.00 AM to 8.00 PM Monday to Saturday and 9.00 AM to 8.00 PM on Sunday.

Any other kind of noise (e.g. industrial noise etc.) is an Environment Protection Authority (EPA) issue. Further information on noise and noise complaints can be obtained from the EPA website at

Barking dogs come under the jurisdiction of the local Council.

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Fires & Burning

Q : My neighbour is burning some rubbish, there is smoke everywhere, can police attend?

A :  This is a Council matter, not a police matter. Back yard burning has been prohibited in the metropolitan area. Some councils allow backyard burning in country areas.

If you believe there is a risk of property (house or car) catching alight because of the backyard burning, you should ring 000 and ask for the MFS (Metropolitan Fire Station). If they need police to attend they will advise us.

Some guidelines are listed below and relate to country areas only.

Burning on the Ground

Fire Danger Season - YES, but only in a properly constructed incinerator unless you have a permit from your local council to burn on the ground.
Total Fire Ban Day   - NO. Unless you have a Schedule 10 permit from your local council.


Fire Danger Season. YES- When using an incinerator you must have: (country areas only)

  • a 4 metre cleared space around and above it;
  • a responsible person must be in attendance at all times with water or other extinguishing agent on hand; and
  • keep all doors and openings closed and keep screens and guards in place.

Total Fire Ban Day. NO - The lighting of incinerators is banned and they must not be lit during the period of the Total Fire Ban.

The lighting of fires is also governed by the Environment Protection Act (Burning) Policy 1994.

Some councils have totally prohibited the use of incinerators and open fires for waste disposal on domestic premises (no incinerators in the metropolitan area).

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Lost property

Q. I have left something in a taxi, how do I check to see if it has been handed in and what if it hasn't?

A :  First contact the taxi company if you know it. Secondly you can contact your local police station to see if it has been recorded on their Property Management system. If not,you can make a Lost Property Report at"

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Restraining orders and parenting plans & orders

Q: I would like advice on Parenting order compliance as my ex-partner has not handed over the children.

A: Parenting plans and orders are Federal matters and as such any orders are generally enforceable only by the Federal court system or, in some circumstances, Federal police. 

State police will only become involved in parenting arrangements if an order provides for them to do so, or if there is any reason to believe that the child is in danger or is being neglected.  As such, State police will check on the welfare of the children if you believe they are in danger, however, if it is assessed that they are safe and well, they will remain with the parent they are with, regardless of the terms of any orders that you have.

Non-compliance with a parenting plan or order will have to be raised with the relevant Court, normally through your solicitor.

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Q: How do I obtain a restraining order?

A:  An application can be made to the Court through a Police Officer or solicitor, providing you meet the criteria for making an application.

If the police attend your home as a result of an incident (& the criteria is satisfied), an application can be requested to the attending Police. Applications can also be made at any Police Station. The Police will obtain a signed statement from you (the complainant) and give further advice on the process involved eg: your attendance in Court for the application process; service of the order to the defendant; advice on how to report breaches of an order.

The Police will also discuss with you, what conditions on the order are required for your protection. Every situation is different and will be assessed by the officer at the police station. There are many types of orders. 

An order is not effective until it has been served on the defendant.

Refer to full details on our restraining order page.

Q: How do I find out if the restraining order has been served?

A: Refer to full details on our restraining order page.

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Police checks or clearances

Q: Police clearances - How and where do I obtain one?

A: For full details refer to our pages on National Police Certificates.

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Fines and demerit points

Q: I received a fine and want to dispute it or ask questions about it, who do I ring?

A:   For all speeding fines, red light traffic fines, and parking fines issued to you by a police officer, you can contact the Expiation Notice Branch on (08) 8463 4388. All other parking fines are the responsibility of the Councils.

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Q: How many demerit points do I have issued to me and where can I get information about them?

A:  We each start off at 0 demerit points.  Most traffic offences attract the loss of some demerit points.    The number of points gained for each offence depends on how likely it is to cause an accident.

If you accumulate 12 or more demerit points in any 3 year period, you will be disqualified from driving. Each 3 year period is based on the offence date, not a court or conviction date. If you require any information on how many demerit points you have accumulated as a result of traffic offences, you need to go to Transport SA or call them on 131 084.

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Q: I have sold something to a friend and now they wont give me the money. They have the goods already. What can I do?

A: You have entered into a civil agreement with your friend for the purchase of these goods and therefore it is not a police matter, it is a civil matter. 

When an arrangement is made between two people whether in writing or verbal about property, it becomes a civil matter and you need to get some legal advice. If however you lent the item to them and they will not give it back, depending on the circumstances, it may be considered theft.  If you wish to take the matter further, you will have to attend at a police station to make a statement and report them for theft.  

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Q: I am having a problem with my neighbours, what do I do?

A: If the dispute is happening at the time and it appears there is no resolution or it is getting aggressive, police will attend. Otherwise contact your local Council, they may be able to assist by mediating between parties (some council issues may include, kids throwing things over your fence, leaves falling and tree branches overhanging into your property, fences, boundary problems and barking dogs).

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