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Outcome (3): Analyse the provisions relating to the police powers of arrest, search, seizure, and detention. Comment upon the continuing debate as to whether these powers are excessive or insufficient to allow the police to carry out their work efficientl

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Outcome (3): Analyse the provisions relating to the police powers of arrest, search, seizure, and detention. Comment upon the continuing debate as to whether these powers are excessive or insufficient to allow the police to carry out their work efficiently. Civil rights are the freedoms and rights that a person may have as a member of a community, state, or nation. They include a person's freedom of speech, actions, and religion. They also include the rights for one to own property, and receive fair and equal treatment from the state, government, and other people. The courts are the governing bodies that decide whether a persons civil rights have been violated. They also determine the limit of such rights so that people do not use their personal freedom in order to violate such rights. The society that we live in is classed as a 'free society' (Stone, 2004; 67) whereby citizens have the right to carry out everyday tasks without an explanation to those in authority. Ones personal freedoms are greatly respected as identified in the European Convention of Human Rights Act 1988. However important ones personal freedom is it can still be intervened with by those in authority. Such invasion of ones personal freedom is authorised by the state. A prime example of this is upon reasonable grounds to do so the police have the power to arrest, search, seize, and detain someone or something. The rest of this paper will look at such powers in more detail 'analysing the provisions relating to the police powers of arrest, search, seizure, and detention. And comment upon the continuing debate to whether these powers are excessive or insufficient to allow the police to carry out their work efficiently'. Most of the powers that the police have in relation to stop, search, and arrests are enclosed in the Police and Criminal evidence act 1984, generally known as PACE. ...read more.


These forms of stops are called 'road checks' and 'mean the obstruction of a road in order to stop all vehicles passing along it or vehicles selected by any criterion (s4 (2), art 6(2))' (Beven, 1991; 80). A police constable does not need to have any reasonable grounds to carry out a road check, therefore, this means that they can randomly stop vehicles. Usually a superintendent must authorise a road check however an officer at a lower level may do so 'if it appears to him that it is required as a matter of urgency' (Stone, P79). A road check may be carried out in four circumstances. The first is if a person has committed a serious arrestable offence, secondly if a person as witnessed an offence, thirdly if a person intends to commit a serious arrestable offence, and lastly if a person is unlawfully at large. Such checks are set up regularly especially when a major crime has been committed or if someone is unlawfully at large. Road checks can also be used for general road traffic purposes, for example to check a car of its roadworthiness or just to warn motorists that there has been an accident ahead. Section 1 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 states that a person driving a vehicle must stop the vehicle on being required to do so by a constable in uniform. This is a controversial matter as the Lodwick V Senders 1985 case 'gives a constable a power to require the driver to stop (as was stated in R v Waterfield (1963))and does not simply impose a duty on the motorist to stop (as was suggested in Steel v Goacher (1983))' (Stone, P79). However, Section 163 sub section 3 of the Road Traffic act 1988 makes it an offence for driver not to stop whilst driving his car when required to do so by a police officer in uniform. ...read more.


Not only does it seem extreme that the police can stop and search people for items normally legal it also seems to be an insufficient power in the fact that there is no specific power given to the police to seize any goods found. The police may seize the alcohol under different acts of parliament but the power given seems to be rather inadequate in the fact that the police can actually stop and search for certain goods under one power but not seize them under the same power. As previously mentioned the police powers have been extended in relation to terrorism since the Terrorism Act 2000 was established. This in itself has helped to protect society from those who are suspected of been terrorists; many problems have also arisen from it too. Code A of PACE states that officers must not discriminate in any way whilst exercising powers given to them. However it seems difficult to carry this out in relation to the Terrorism Act 2000, as a police officer might need to take into consideration ones ethnic background when deciding who to stop. For instance, many international terrorist groups are related with particular ethnic groups, such as Muslims. (www.homeoffice.gov.uk). Not only can they be seen to be discriminating by stopping certain ethnic groups the police can also be seen to be discriminating when asking people from ethnic backgrounds to remove items of their clothing. Using the Muslim example again the police could request that they move there headscarf's whilst carrying out there powers of stop and search. This is lawful but not seen as respectful to there religion. Overall the powers given to the police service in relation to arrest, search, seizure, and detention are respectable. There are some errors with flaws but this can also be seen in many other pieces of legislature. Evidence shows that the police service makes a lot of discretionary decisions due to the ambiguity of rules and regulations. On the balance of evidence it can therefore be said that the police powers need to be more comprehensible in order to form a wider understanding. ...read more.

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