Describe the Powers of the Police to Search and Arrest.
The Police when stopping and searching on the street they first ask where you are going and for what purpose, if they are searching in the public place they have the right to search a person and their vehicle, if the police requires the person to remove more than his coat, he should be taken to a private place, if he is carrying a weapon or the police finds a weapon in his vehicle the person will be believed to be a criminal, and he will be arrested, the police although has to have a reason for searching the particular person, the reasons might be either he fits the profile of a criminal seen in that area or he is acting suspiciously, the suspect might not tell his name ,phone no or address to the police unless and until he is arrested .The criminal then will be taken to the police station and will be kept in custody, the minimum hours of detention is 24 hrs., if the police requires to keep him more than that they have to have the permission of the senior officers, the maximum hours of detention is 96 hrs., if the police need to enquire more about the criminal the police will need to apply to the magistrates for permission.
The criminal can then call and inform someone of his arrest and can then arrange a lawyer for himself, he has the right to take legal advice for free. He may be searched in the police station, and if an intimate search is required it may be done by the same sex officers, this is generally done with the permission of the senior officers, when they believe that the criminal might be hiding something which may be harmful to himself or to others, or may cause physical injury or maybe hiding something which is illegal to carry like a class a drug which he might be importing or exporting.
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The Terrorism act 2010 allows searches because it is believed to be a convenient method for anti-terrorism.
This verdict of the European court of Justice in 2010 was amended in 2012 under the Protection of Freedom Act 2012 which stated that carrying out a search will be valid if the police officer believe that the person is a reasonable suspect of terrorism or he has a terrorist nature.
Section 60 of Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 gives an additional power to the Police , to stop and search in anticipation of violence, in this the police may or may not have a reasonable suspicion of the person, and this is valid for a period of 24 hrs. only.
The police has the power to search the premises of a suspect, with a warrant, they may enter the premises without their permission, the warrant they carry must be authorized by the magistrates, these warrants are issued under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, and may be authorized by magistrates only if the police has reasonable grounds to believe that an indictable crime has been committed.
The police may enter the premises and search the premises for materials which are of substantial use in the investigation. Search warrants are designed to prevent evidence being removed or destroyed through the need to give warning or of an intended search.
The warrant must specify the name and place of search and the search took take place at a reasonable time , earlier the police could search premises and had the permission of having one entry one occasion and the search should be executed within one month from the date of the issue of the warrant, but now according and under the Serious Organized Crime and Police Act 2005 , an ‘’all premises’ warrant was introduced which allowed one or more entries for search of the premises, and also stated that the police can seize all the properties of the criminal.
It is mandatory for the police to tell the people living in the premises about the search and should handover a copy of the warrant to them, but for few of the dangerous cases the police may not reveal their identity to carry out their search, for e.g. in R v Longman (1988) where the police were a few woman who went to the premises for search in civil uniform and posed as delivery girls, they went there to search for drugs. As soon as the doors opened they burst in the premises without revealing their identity or showing a search warrant. This type of search can be carried out where gaining entry is difficult, the court of appeal held that it was lawful to forcefully gain entry in such cases. Also the Section 16 of Pace and Codes of Practice B set out full guidelines for executing search warrants.
Section 17 also states that the police can enter premises without stating for a reason for the purpose of ‘saving life or limb or preventing serious damage to property’ for e.g. in Syed vs Dpp 2010. PACE states that the police also may enter the premises without a warrant if the police officer believes that there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that there may be evidence in the premises related to the person who has been arrested in suspicion of a crime.
Section 24 of PACE sets out the powers the police have to arrest suspects, these powers were completely changed at the beginning of 2006 by Serious Organized Crime and Police Act 2005.
Previously there had to be an arrestable offence, but now arrest can be made for any offence
S 24 reads:
A constable may arrest without a warrant:
*anyone who is about to commit a an offence
*anyone who is in an act of committing an offence
*anyone who he has reasonable grounds for suspecting to be about to commit an offence
*anyone whom he has reasonable grounds for suspecting to be committing an offence.
If a constable has reasonable grounds for suspecting that an offence has been committed, he may arrest anyone without a warrant.
If an offence has been committed, a constable may arrest without a warrant:
*anyone who is guilty of the offence
*anyone whom he has reasonable grounds for suspecting to be guilty of it.
The police also have the right to interview the suspects, in which solicitors may or may not be present. The police may carry out the interview without anyone being present. If the solicitor has been called and the matter is urgent or solicitor is delayed for some time the police has the right to question the suspect before the solicitor arrives.
For the suspects under the age of 17 or handicapped suspects, an appropriate adult should be present during all the interviews, The Runciman Commission recommended that the police should be given clear guidelines on identifying suspects who need an appropriate adult.