February 2014 articles archive:

Evaluate police powers of arrest, detention and search.

Article shared with kind permission of Conor Hunt (Student).

The first of the police powers I am going to evaluate is the power that the custody officer has. When a police officer is arresting someone he is going to have a view of what that person has done and the reason for arresting the offender. When they take the suspect to the police station they the arresting officer will have to give their version of events to the custody officer. The custody officer then makes a decision on whether the officer arrested the suspect for the right reasons and if he actually should have arrested the detainee. If you just use the arresting officer’s version of events then they will probably be of the opinion that they knew what they were doing, and what they did was the right thing to do in that situation. Whereas if you use a custody officer he can’t take a biased view of the offender and it may be that they look at the incident differently.

 

You could say this is like getting a second opinion on what has happened. This could be beneficial to either the police or the suspect. It could be beneficial to the suspect because the custody officer could question the arresting officer regarding his reasons for arresting the suspect. Depending on the arresting officer's response the custody officer can then decide if the suspect had in fact been doing anything wrong. It would be advantageous for the police in that it is like getting a second opinion on whether they were arresting the suspect for the correct reason, and it would mean that, on looking at the facts, the arrest is justified.

 

The next power I am going to evaluate is the amount of force the police can use whilst they are arresting a suspect, entering premises or searching a vehicle. I think that the police force that is used against a suspect will probably relate to the force the suspect is using against them. What I mean by this is that if you are very aggressive and try to pick a fight with an arresting officer/s, then they are going to use more force to overpower you, so that they can then arrest you for the offence they suspect you of committing. Whereas, if you are completely compliant with the police, don’t shout abuse at them do everything they are asking you to do, most of the time they won’t even put handcuffs on you, they would just escort you to the back of their police vehicle.

 

I believe that the more you struggle and disagree with the police, the guiltier you make yourself look because it just looks like your trying to hide something. In contrast, if you go quietly and are completely compliant then it makes it look like you are more likely to be innocent and the less force the police will be inclined to use.

 

Again, I think the police use the correct amount of force when entering a premise. If you are compliant then they will not use force at all, they would just do the job they were sent there for and be on their way. I also believe they use the right amount of force when raiding someone's house where they have reason to believe that drug dealing is taking place. Warrants will be executed under the Misuse of Drugs Act and the police will use police battering rams to hit the door where the locks are so that they can gain entry. Then they would use tactics to scare and detain any suspects in the property. They go in shouting because it puts the suspect on the back foot straight away because it is quite frightening.

 

I have experienced this first hand when we took part in a police riot training exercise. When the police burst through the door and really start shouting it does make you scared and really compliant, and we were only taking part in a training programme so we had not actually doing anything wrong! When someone actually knows that what they are doing is wrong and that they are likely to get arrested for it, it would be very scary and would probably seem more violent than it actually was.

 

The last power I’m going to write about is how the police have codes to protect them against any accusations. The first example of this is the tape recording of proceedings when they do an interview with a suspect. There are mainly two reasons why the police tape interviews with suspects. The first is because it shows that the police are doing the right thing and following procedure when they are interviewing. They aren’t threatening the suspect or doing anything they shouldn’t be doing, so if the suspect accuses them of doing so, they have proof that what the suspect is saying isn’t the truth. The second reason is because then if the suspect says something incriminating they have a record of it and can use it in evidence against the suspect.

 

The police also do things such as putting evidence in tamper evident bags to secure and protect items. This means that the suspect can not accuse the police of tampering with the bag and putting fake evidence in the bag after they have collected evidence as the bag cannot be opened without leaving an obvious trace and the bags are bar coded so that they can be easily traced and identified. I think these are very good precautions used by the police because they have proof that they are doing things the right way to guard them from any false accusations, and it also means that if a suspect does or says anything incriminating, they have it as proof to use in a court of law.

 

Police Powers Quiz Blockbusters Quiz

Stop and Search Part 1 by metpoliceservice YouTube

Stop and Search Part 2 by metpoliceservice YouTube 

Stop and Search Part 3 by metpoliceservice YouTube 

BBC News - Police use of stop-and-search powers criticised by HMIC

BBC News - Public consultation into stop and search powers

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