English Legal System

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Law – English Legal System
1. Police Powers
Police powers are covered mainly under Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (1986 as amended) which was introduced following a commission report. S.66 requires drawing up of codes of practice.
Stop and Search (s.1-3 Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (1986 as amended))
Power to stop and search
Police have reasonable grounds to suspect that suspect/vehicle has stolen goods or prohibited articles (weapons or tools for burglary and fireworks).
Reasonable grounds are defined under Code A and can include; matching description, time of day, place, behaviour or prohibited article suspected. Hairstyle, skin colour, age, clothes etc. do not constitute reasonable grounds unless they match a description.
Other powers allow search for drugs, firearms and terrorist equipment (Misuse of drugs act, firearms act, terrorism act 2000).
Can search without suspicion for weapons if a superintendent or above (inspector in dire emergencies) issues a warrant to search anyone entering a certain place at a certain time if there is reason to believe incidents of serious violence are about to take place, this is covered under s.60 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. See Osman V DPP.
Before searching: give name and police station, show ID if in plain clothes, state reason and grounds for search.
Not doing the above makes search unlawful and all evidence collected will be inadmissible. See Osman V DPP.
Search can only be for outer coat/jacket and gloves.
Can only use items searched for as evidence under PACE, but can use other acts to allow use of other evidence of other crimes found.
Protection of individual’s rights
Failure to do above rules leads to: stop and search unlawful (Osman DPP), officer disciplined, possible assault charge, articles seized = inadmissible.
Requires reasonable grounds for search, prevents constant searching/harassment/victimisation/prejudice (code A).
Requires giving of name and station to allow complaints to be made effectively – police more likely to follow rules.
Powers of Arrest (s.24 PACE 1984 (as amended by s.110 SOCPA))
With a warrant: issued by magistrate after police provide evidence for reasonable cause. Allows arrest of suspect.
Without a warrant: only when a person is committing a crime, has committed a crime or is about to commit a crime, or the officer suspects one of these is about to happen/has happened/is happening.
Other than this, without a warrant requires at least one of the following to apply to the situation: to ascertain name of suspect, ascertain address, prevent them causing injury to self or other, prevent suffering physical injury, prevent loss or damage of property, prevent offence against public decency, prevent unlawful obstruction of highway, protect child or vulnerable person, allow prompt investigation of offence, or prevent disappearance of suspect.
When arresting police must inform they are arresting suspect and give reason for arrest. + Should give caution but don’t have to (anything said may not be admissible as evidence if no caution is given).
When arresting, can search if they suspect they have: something posing danger to self or others, article to help in escape or evidence of crime.
Protection of individual’s rights
Failure of above can result in: unlawful arrest, suspect using force to resist, police sued for false imprisonment.
Need for reasonable suspicion prevents arbitrary arrest. Ned for requirements under s.24 PACE prevents removal of liberty in minor cases e.g. litter dropping.
Inform of arrest and reason means police show proper cause for arrest. Caution given under codes of practice inform suspect of right to silence (statements without caution given cannot be used in evidence).
Powers of Detention
After the arrest the suspect is taken to a police station.
The custody officer decides if there is enough evidence to charge the suspect.
If there is the suspect is