Jump to content

Police scanners
Are they legal?

  • Please log in to reply
13 replies to this topic

#1 =Magpie=

Posted 20 December 2012 - 10:57 PM

I've recently downloaded an app on my iPad that enables me to listen to the local police radio system.

So, as the title asks, does anyone know if it's legal to listen?

#2 erindiv

Posted 20 December 2012 - 11:03 PM

That's an interesting thought. My Pa listens to the local police radio all the time on a regular radio. Anyone can tune in, so I can't see how it would be illegal...

#3 Soontobegran

Posted 20 December 2012 - 11:04 PM

It is not illegal to listen but it should be.
I have no idea why anyone who was not a criminal would be interested in listening.

#4 Soontobegran

Posted 20 December 2012 - 11:07 PM

QUOTE (erindiv @ 21/12/2012, 12:03 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
That's an interesting thought. My Pa listens to the local police radio all the time on a regular radio. Anyone can tune in, so I can't see how it would be illegal...

I didn't think you could pick up the frequency on normal radio? That is why they brought out these scanners so they can intercept the calls?

#5 erindiv

Posted 20 December 2012 - 11:08 PM

QUOTE (soontobegran @ 21/12/2012, 12:04 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It is not illegal to listen but it should be.
I have no idea why anyone who was not a criminal would be interested in listening.

I can assure you my dear old Pa is not a criminal biggrin.gif He just likes to know if there have been accidents etc. And finds it mildly amusing when people speeding and being morons get caught.

As for the radio, I always assumed it was a normal radio but the last time I looked at it was when I was about 9 so honestly I couldn't be sure.

edit - a quick Google search turned up lots of answers, the general consensus is that it is legal to listen but illegal to use the information to your advantage.

Edited by erindiv, 20 December 2012 - 11:11 PM.

#6 =Magpie=

Posted 20 December 2012 - 11:11 PM

I assure you I'm not a criminal either!
I just simply find it interesting, it certainly gives me more understanding of the wonderful and difficult job the police do.

#7 erindiv

Posted 20 December 2012 - 11:13 PM

STBG, just out curiosity, why do you think it should be illegal?

#8 Soontobegran

Posted 20 December 2012 - 11:18 PM


Because people who don't need to be shouldn't be privvy to sensitive information. It is not so much of an issue of you intend to just listen but it is extremely handy information for criminals. It is also how journalists get to the scene of a crime before the emergency services sometimes.
erindiv, your pa must have a scanner or a CB radio as the conversations can't be picked up on normal radio. original.gif

ETA... My DH is now retired but as a police person of over 3 decades used to express his frustration when people were tipped off that they were on their way or they turned up to an accident or some drama only to find a crowd of people forming as they heard about it on their scanners.
I know not everyone uses it for this but it can be a significant problem.

Edited by soontobegran, 20 December 2012 - 11:23 PM.

#9 erindiv

Posted 20 December 2012 - 11:21 PM

QUOTE (soontobegran @ 21/12/2012, 12:18 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
erindiv, your pa must have a scanner or a CB radio as the conversations can't be picked up on normal radio. original.gif

Must have. I feel a bit silly now Tounge1.gif

#10 =Magpie=

Posted 20 December 2012 - 11:24 PM

There was a car chase the other day and everytime they set up the 'stingers', the car did a U-turn, the police decided he had a scanner. Caught him anyway.
Stragely I can't access the scanners for Brisbane but can for the local area, Logan. Which is probably more interesting anyway.  tongue.gif

#11 Soontobegran

Posted 20 December 2012 - 11:24 PM

QUOTE (erindiv @ 21/12/2012, 12:21 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Must have. I feel a bit silly now Tounge1.gif

Not silly original.gif I wouldn't have known except for my DH telling me.

#12 Flickster

Posted 21 December 2012 - 05:51 AM

I have one, but it's analog and all the police radios are digital now (at least, in our area).  I always found it more entertaining than the music on commercial radio!

The police can/do also use encryption - so even if you have a digital scanner you can't listen in.

#13 katpaws

Posted 21 December 2012 - 05:56 AM

DH used to have to listen to one for work. I heard too many things that i wish i had never heard, including what happens if a body is left undiscovered for some time and a horrific rape.

#14 *Kell*

Posted 21 December 2012 - 07:05 AM

Majority of the city stations have moved on to an encoded digital frequency for their radios, where you need a specialised radio and the code, to be able to listen.
It is illegal to have that code if you are not a police officer.
But obviously smaller stations, particularly in the country, are still using the UHF Analogue system which anybody can gain access to.

1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users


Get your FREE Baby & Toddler Ticket!

Get your free ticket to the Essential Baby & Toddler Show Brisbane (4-6 March). Register online now to save $20!

Newborn baby found in a nativity scene

Police are trying to trace a woman who abandoned a baby boy in the manger of a church nativity scene.

Life would be harder without my kids

The Humans of New York Facebook page is well known for sharing touching, real stories from one of the world's biggest cities – and it's just hit the heart of parents everywhere.

Mum dresses as Wonder Woman for last day of chemo

A Brisbane mum dressed up as a superhero to celebrate the end of her chemotherapy and created a moment her family will remember forever.

How a raisin can predict a toddler's IQ

All you need to assess a child's future intelligence is a plastic cup and a raisin, according to new research.

Former Hi-5 member's cannabis hope

Former Hi-5 star Tim Harding hopes a cannabis-derived drug will help control his daughter's epilepsy, which sees the four-year-old suffering between 50 and 100 seizures a day.

The top 5 reasons your toddler throws a tantrum

Whilst to the outside world little people may appear to have it easy, it's actually not always the case – just ask any toddler who's had their toast cut up the wrong way.

Glenn McGrath thought he'd lost his wife and baby

Australian cricket ledged Glen McGrath has spoken about the moment he thought he might lose his wife, Sara and their baby daughter, Madison.


Inside my Centrelink nightmare

Mother Bec Smith has been trying for months to access Centrelink payments. A "serious error" is preventing her.

Warnings over push for hourly childcare billing

Australia's peak childcare body has called for caution around the Turnbull government's push for childcare centres to charge parents by the hour, not by the day.

Cate Blanchett thought about adopting for years

Cate Blanchett says her recent adoption of a baby girl had nothing to do with wanting a daughter after having three sons.

Kate Walsh: 'I can't have kids'

Grey's Anatomy star Kate Walsh has revealed she is unable to have children because she has experienced early menopause.

The parasite that could boost fertility

The Tsimane women of Bolivia are often revered as among the most fertile in the world - on average having 10 children in their lifetimes -- but some are even more fertile than others.

Family may sue cousin over genetics

A Melbourne couple is suing the Royal Children's Hospital for failing to diagnose a genetic disorder in their first child - an error they allege caused them to have another child with severe disabilities.

Strange things mums have done in labour

While most women in labour focus on the upcoming birth of their baby, some women do more interesting things.

Michael Clarke reveals baby's name

When Michael Clarke said he was wrapped around the finger of his little princess, he wasn't joking.

The logistics of breastfeeding twins

Our life is more or less divided into neat four hour parcels of time and it's hard to get much of anything done in the time between feeds.

How to stop people ruining Christmas

We can make a conscious effort about how we react to those curly Christmas day scenarios that can send us up the wall, or should we say chimney.

Lots of formula offers for desperate mum

The mum who was down to her last three tins of baby formula said she had received hundreds of calls and offers to send her formula.

Surviving breast cancer while pregnant

It was last thing Rebecca O'Donnell expected at 30 weeks' pregnant. One morning, while putting on her bra, she felt a pea-sized lump in her right breast.

Cot sheet brands for the nursery

With so many awesome cot sheet options these days, we thought we'd put together a list of go-to brands for you to seek out for your baby's bed.


What's hot on EB

How I survived breast cancer while pregnant

It was last thing Rebecca O'Donnell expected at 30 weeks' pregnant. One morning, while putting on her bra, she felt a pea-sized lump in her right breast.

Grieving father's letter to Bataclan terrorists: "...this little boy will threaten you by being happy and free"

A grieving father whose wife was killed in the attacks on the Bataclan Theatre last weekend has written an open letter to her killers.

5 challenges of motherhood - and how to see them differently

Despite the smiles, the sloppy kisses and the pure magic children bring to our lives, it's hard to deny that motherhood can be tough.

4 challenges of being a new dad - and how to face them

Becoming a parent is challenging – and that applies to both mums and dads.

My battle against antenatal and postnatal depression

I was five months pregnant when I realised I needed help.

Children swapped at birth will not be returned to biological parents

A boy and girl accidentally swapped on the day they were born will stay with the families who have raised them, a South African court has ruled.

A quarter of men believe they get 'man periods'

A British study has revealed one in four men believe they have a monthly cycle.

Baby deposit

How much do you need to save for a 'baby deposit'?

It's fairly straightforward to calculate a house deposit, but how much money do you need to save up for a baby?

Dad's beautiful note to his wife, a nurse

To anyone else it might just look like a picture of a mum having a nap with her toddler.

'I was a complete schmuck': Mike Baird opens up about his wife's postnatal depression

When his wife Kerryn was not well following the birth of their daughter, NSW Premier Mike Baird buried himself in his work.

Mum's desperate plea as whooping cough alert issued

A desperate mother has shared a heart-breaking video of her baby struggling to cope with a coughing fit caused by pertussis.

Coffee could help you live longer

New US research found people who report drinking three to five cups of coffee a day are less likely to die prematurely from heart disease, suicide, diabetes or Parkinson's disease.

The joy and dread of playdates

To live vicariously through your child is to rediscover anxieties you thought dead and buried.

Sick baby could die without scarce special formula, mum says

Lizzie Cann is down to her last three tins of a special formula in short supply.

Adorable toddler's strop foiled by squeaky shoes

We're probably all familiar with the pouty bottom lip and tightly crossed arms of a tot mid-strop.

More sex during World Cup created more baby boys

More sex during South Africa's World Cup meant a disproportionately high number of boys were born nine months later, a new study has found.

ABC Shop perfect for Christmas gifts

What a boon it would be to have your toddler's Christmas gifts covered this year. We have two awesome ABC Shop prize packs to give away to two lucky winners.

Do fitness challenges really work?

Fitness challenges aren't new. There's Michelle Bridges 12WBT and a bunch of other programs if you really want to lose weight.

What are pregnant women Googling?

Pregnancy is a huge change for any woman, so it's natural we'll have questions - and turn to Google to ask them.



Can't decide?

Check out the Essential Baby Names section for some inspiration

Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.