Stop, search and arrest

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Assignment 1.1

By Roxanne Slevin


The main piece of legislation regulating police powers is the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE). The act was passed due to the miscarriage of justice in 1980, when a man (Maxwell Confait) was murdered. He had been strangled to death with an electrical flex in a burning house. Three boys at the age of fourteen, fifteen and eighteen were charged with the murder; however, three years later they were released after the Fisher report concluded they had nothing to with the murder.

        In the case of Jack, there are many things to consider about the legality of the actions of the police. Code A Under section 1 of PACE, the police officer was legally allowed to search Jack as there was a reasonable suspicion; this was due to the fact that the patrol officer was looking for suspects that were vandalising bus shelters, and where jack was acting suspiciously this is therefore reasonable. On the other hand, if it had been on the basis of personal factors, this would have been seen as discrimination and therefore, would have been illegal.    

        Before the search begun, the police officer would have had to indentify himself and the police station of where he/she is based and tell the person to be searched the grounds for the search. Plus, If the police officer is not in uniform, then the officer must provide documentary identification, under section 2 of PACE. For instance, in R v Bristol, it was rendered that a stop and search was unlawful if the officer failed to provide the correct information. There is no evidence this took place in Jacks case.

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        There is also no evidence that a written record was produced. Under section 3, a written record must be made at the time of the search, unless there are exceptional circumstances which would be made at the time of the search.

        The law states that nobody is obliged in common law to answer police questions. For instance, in Rice v Connolly (1966), Rice refused to answer questions about where he came from/where he was going, and so was arrested. The case was squashed on appeal as he was not obliged to talk. However, in comparison, in Rickets v Cox, ...

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A good essay, outlining the key provisions of PACE. 4 stars.