The Police Powers of Search, Arrest, and Interrogation Essay

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The Powers of Police

Individuals have civil rights; people are entitled to be allowed to move freely and to have their person and their property respected. However the police must have sufficient powers to investigate crimes. Therefore Parliament has given the police special powers that can be used in certain circumstances. These powers include the rights to stop and search suspects, to arrest and interview people when necessary and to take fingerprints and samples (blood samples) for scientific analysis.

Without the police having these certain powers then it would be nearly impossible to investigate any crimes. But it is also important for the police to remember that, at the same time, they
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To use this power under PACE the police officer must have reasonable grounds for suspecting that the person is in possession of or the vehicle contains stolen goods or prohibited articles, such as items of offensive weapons, and articles for use in connection with burglary or theft.

As these powers are very wide there are safeguards in that the police officer must give his name and station and the reason for the search. If he or she fails to give reason for the search, then the search is unlawful. This was shown in the case of Osman v DPP 1999, where the officers did not give their names and station. The Queens Bench Divisional Court held that this made a search of Mr. Osman unlawful and so he could not be guilty of assaulting the police in the execution of their duty.

If the search is in public, the police can only request that the suspect removes his or her outer coat, jacket and gloves.

The code of practice A contains details and guidance on when these powers should be used. In particular it stresses that police officers must not act just because of a person's characteristics.

Paragraph 1.7 of code A says:

'Reasonable suspicion can never be supported on the basis of personal factors alone. For example, a person's colour, age, hairstyle or manner
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