The criminal investigation process is the investigative stage of the criminal justice system. It is where crimes are detected and investigated, and evidence is gathered so that an alleged n offender may be brought before a court. Police have the right to arrest using reasonable force, search and seizure and to issuing special cautions. There are many arguments for and against these police powers.
One power of police in the criminal investigation process is the power of search and seizure. Under the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Amendment (Search and Powers) Act 2009 (NSW) police can apply to the Supreme Court for authority to enter premises and search them without the knowledge of the owner. One argument for the covert search is that it ensures police have reasonable suspicions based on evidence. However, arguments against this police power include the suspects’ right to privacy. This may be an issue since the police do not have to inform the owner of the search for up to two years. As outlined in the article Latest police weapon: a secret search (SMH 5.3.09) “It seriously undermines the balance between the states right to investigate and prosecute crime and the rights of individuals to carry out their proper business and lives without fear of intrusion by the state”. Therefore there are both arguments for and against police to use this police power on individuals without reasonable suspicion as it affects their right to privacy.
Another police power during the crime investigation process is the power to arrest suspects. Arrest is to seize a person by legal authority and take them into custody. In the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 (NSW) police must have a warrant, have reasonable suspicion and use reasonable force. Arguments for the power to arrest is that it provides a judicial safeguard for ordinary citizens by ensuring that police justify their suspicions and ensuring police do not abuse their powers. On the other hand, to protect the suspect police can only use reasonable force. For example, in the case R v Skardon (2011) who was charged and convicted of assault as owned in the article “Bond for police officer who threatened youth with gun” (NH 31.10.2011). Whilst there are arguments for and against the power of police to use force to arrest suspects, the law ensures the use of force is reasonable to protect both police and suspects.
A final power of police during the criminal investigation process is their right to issue a special caution for serious indictable offences.