Placing a person under lawful detention against their will and denying them of their liberty for the purposes of law enforcement.

 Arrest with a warrant

Arresting with a warrant requires the police to apply to a magistrates' court in order to arrest a suspect. The Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 Section 1 sets out how an arrest warrant can be issued and why. When the police are applying to the courts for a warrant they must write the name of the suspect and what the suspect has allegedly done. If the magistrates' issue the police with a warrant the police can arrest the suspect, using reasonable force to enter premises if necessary. When the police use a warrant for someone’s arrest, the name of the offender must be written on the warrant in order for the police to arrest them and if the offender demands to see the warrant the police must show it or they cannot lawfully enter premises or arrest an individual.



Arrest without a warrant


Most arrests are made by the police without a warrant. This is because police must act quickly at the scene of a crime and they will not actually know who is about to be arrested before arriving on the scene.  

When they are arresting a suspect without a warrant it need not be for an indictable offence (serious offence).  The police can arrest someone who they suspect to have committed an offence, or is about to or is in the course of committing an offence.  However it should also be seen as necessary or appropriate just because they can arrest someone should not mean that they do. Section 24 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (as substituted by Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 Section 110) provides the statutory power for a constable to arrest without a warrant for all offences.

In effect a constable may arrest, without a warrant, anyone who is, or whom he has reasonable grounds to suspect to be, about to commit an offence or to be in the act of committing an offence. If a constable has reasonable grounds to suspect an offence has been committed he can arrest, without a warrant, anyone he has reasonable grounds to suspect of being guilty of that offence. The constable must believe that it is necessary to arrest the person in order to ascertain the name of the person and their address and to prevent the person in question injuring himself or anyone else, damaging property or committing an offence against public decency (when the public can not reasonably avoid the person) or for causing an unlawful obstruction of the highway. It may also be necessary to protect a child or other vulnerable person from the person in question,to allow the prompt and effective investigation of the offence or of the conduct of the person in question and to prevent any prosecution for the offence from being hindered by the disappearance of the person in question.

This means that arresting without a warrant means the police cannot have a ‘wait and see’ approach, because the perpetrator may be gone or may have caused harm to someone by then so they need to act fast.



Citizens arrest


A citizen's arrest, as the name implies, occurs when a member of the public arrests another member of the public. The power of a citizen's arrest is detailed in section 24A of PACE (police and criminal evidence act) 1984.  

The law states that,

1)A person other than a constable may arrest without a warrant—

(a)anyone who is in the act of committing an indictable offence;

(b)anyone whom he has reasonable grounds for suspecting to be committing an indictable offence.

(2)Where an indictable offence has been committed, a person other than a constable may arrest without a warrant—

(a)anyone who is guilty of the offence;

(b)anyone whom he has reasonable grounds for suspecting to be guilty of it.

(3)But the power of summary arrest conferred by subsection (1) or (2) is exercisable only if—

(a)the person making the arrest has reasonable grounds for believing that for any of the reasons mentioned in subsection (4) it is necessary to arrest the person in question; and

(b)it appears to the person making the arrest that it is not reasonably practicable for a constable to make it instead.

(4)The reasons are to prevent the person in question—

(a)causing physical injury to himself or any other person;

(b)suffering physical injury;

(c)causing loss of or damage to property; or

(d)making off before a constable can assume responsibility for him.

There is no statement you have to use when making a citizens arrest, but you should tell the person you are arresting what you are doing and why, and what offence you think they have committed, as soon as you can. Wrongful arrest can result in the person making the arrest being sued and if there is any danger a citizens arrest should not be attempted, the police should be called on 999.

Police powers of arrest: your rights - GOV.UK

PACE Code G 2012

BBC News - Arrest warrants: Police hunt more than 30,000 suspects

Law and Lawyers: Citizen's Arrest - a limited power ObiterJ

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