Police Powers

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  • Law: Police Powers
    • Detention
      • The two Acts amended the law about detention at a police station found in Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 are SOCPA 2005 and Criminal Justice Act 2003.
      • The guidelines covering detention are in the Codes of Practice.
      • The arrested person has the right to access medical treatment and an interpreter, also they can inform someone of their detention at the police station.
      • Normally a person can be detained for 24 hours but it may be extended to 36 hours if a police officer of a rank of a superintendent or above authorises it.
      • A magistrate can authorise the extension of the detention to 96 hours.
      • When in the interview room, there is rights you have whilst in there.
        • When interviewed the interview must be recorded and a caution given.
        • The interview room must be adequately lit, heated and ventilated with adequate breaks given.
        • The right to consult a solicitor (which is free) to ensure access to legal advice regardless of means but this may be delayed by up to 36 hours in some circumstances and is usually limited to telephone advice.
        • To have access to an appropriate adult during interview if under 17 years old or suffering any mental illness or “retardation”.
      • The police can search the suspect in the 'checking in search'.
      • A same sex officer must carry out a strip search and half the clothes can be removed.
      • A high ranking police officer must authorise a strip search but a doctor and nurse must carry it out. If the police wish to take intimate samples, the person detained must give permission.
    • Stop and Search
      • The powers of the police to stop and search people and vehicles are set out in s.1-7 Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and in code of practice A.
      • The police have the right to stop and search an individual in a public place.
      • They must have reasonable grounds for suspecting that the person is in possession of prohibited articles.
      • The police officer must give their name, station, reason for the search.
      • Or show identification if the police officer is not in uniform.
      • Under s2(9) then the police can only request that the suspect removes his outer coat, jacket and gloves.
      • Under s3(5), the suspect can remove more clothes, out of public view and in the presence of a same sex officer.
      • Under paragraoh 2.2 of Code A, the police msut not search someone solely on their ethnicity, age, dress or hairstyle.
      • Voluntary Searcg: there must be a clear power to stop and search, also, the police officer must follow Code A.
      • Osman: the officers did not give their names and stations, this meant that the search of Mr. O was unlawful and as such he could not be guilty of assaulting the officers in the execution of their duty.
      • Fennelley: he had not been told why he was being searched so any evidence found was inadmissable in court.
      • Other statutory rights to stop and search: Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and Terrorism Act 2000.
    • Arrest
      • The person must have been involved or must be suspected of being involved or must have attempted to be involved in the carrying out of a crime.
      • The police can only arrest under these powers if it is “necessary”. 
        • Reasons why it may be necessary: 1. to find the name and address of the person arrested.
          • 2. to prevent the person: causing physical injury to himself or another person, causing loss of or damage to property.
          • 3. to protect a child or vulnerable person.
          • 4. to allow a quick and thorough investigation of the offence.
          • 5. to prevent any prosecution of the offence.
      • The two main powers of arrest are the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 and Police s.110 and 111 and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 s.24, (code G mainly).
      • The arresting officer must inform the arrested person that they have been arrested and the circumstances surrounding the arrest.
      • When arresting the police officer can use 'reasonable force'.
      • The caution is in Code G.
      • A power of arrest that comes from the common law is the breach of peace.
      • The police can arrest someone if they breach their bail conditions.
      • The Terrorism Act 2000 gives police the power to arrest if they have reasonable suspicion that you are a terrorist.
      • Magistrates can issue warrants.
      • After arrest, the police must take you to the station as soon as possible.


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