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Police scanners
Are they legal?

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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.

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