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Police Powers to Stop and Search.

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POLICE POWERS TO STOP AND SEARCH S.1 of PACE : � Gives police officers right to stop and search a person or a vehicle in a public place or a place to which the public have access, provided that the officer has reasonable grounds to suspect that they will find stolen or prohibited article. � Police are not entitled to stop people at random on the off chance that something interesting will turn up. � Any stolen or prohibited articles discovered by the police may be seized and recorded. � The power to stop-and-search is governed by Code A, which explains that the following factors are not reasonable grounds for arrest: - Person's colour/age/hairstyle/manner of dress - Previous conviction What is 'reasonable suspicion'? Reasonable suspicion can never be supported on the basis of personal factors alone without supporting intelligence or information or specific behaviour by the person concerned. For example, a person's race, age, appearance or the fact that the person is known to have a previous conviction cannot be used alone as a reason for searching that person. Reasonable suspicion cannot be based on generalisations or stereotypical images of certain groups or categories of people as more likely to be involved in criminal activity. ....Reasonable Suspicion Continued Reasonable suspicion can sometimes exist without specific information or intelligence and on the basis of some level of generalisation stemming from the behaviour of a person. For example, if an officer encounters someone on the street at night who is obviously trying to hide something, the officer may (depending on surrounding circumstances) ...read more.


A warrant is an order from magistrates' court authorising an officer to arrest an offender. If an officer wants to arrest someone without a warrant, they must have reasonable suspicion. What is an arrestable offence? All offences which the sentence is fixed by law (e.g. life imprisonment for murder); any offence for which the maximum sentence for adult is at least 5 years. This includes a wide range of offences such as theft (max. 7 years), ABH (max. 5 years), rape (max. life), robbery (max. life). It does not mean the offender will be sentenced to 5 years imprisonment. It only means that the maximum sentence is 5 years or more, Section 24 of PACE � An ordinary citizen can arrest without a warrant any person who has committed an arrestable offence or any one whom he has reasonable grounds for suspecting has committed an arrestable offence. The key factor is there must have been an arrestable offence committed. � Police officer can arrest without a warrant a person whom they reasonably suspect has committed or is committing, or is about to commit an arrestable offence. This means that the arrest will be lawful even if it is shown later that no arrestable offence was committed. � Private citizens may arrest where there has been an indictable offence and there is reasonable ground to suspect the person to be guilty of the offence or where an indictable offence has been committed. ...read more.


- Carpet shop manager asked McConnell to leave but he refused to do so. An officer had to take McConnell outside but he attempted to re-enter. He was arrested for breach of peace. � A breach of the peace is behaviour that is likely to frighten ordinary members of the public. � It covers a wide range of things - from rowdy behaviour to drunken singing. The police can arrest you to prevent any further breaches of the peace. In this case you would not go to court. � Other examples of breach of peace include: - Harassment - Riot - Putting victim in fear of violence - Violent disorder (e.g. chasing someone with a knife) � Arrest with warrant: The police may make an application to a magistrate for a warrant to arrest a name person. A warrant is statement of offence giving the police rights to arrest the person named in the warrant. Such a warrant is issued under S. 1 of Magistrates' Court Act 1980 which requires written information, supported by evidence on oath showing that a person has committed (or is suspect of committing) an offence. A warrant will only be granted if the offence is punishable by imprisonment. � Manner of Arrest: Whenever making an arrest, the police must at the time of or as soon as practicable after tell the person arrested they are under arrest and the reason for it, even if it is perfectly obvious they are being arrested. There is no set of words to be used, as portrayed in TV dramas. Saying something like: 'You are nicked for theft' is sufficient. ...read more.

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