Arrest without warrant

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

An arrest without warrant or a warrantless arrest is an arrest of an individual without the use of an arrest warrant in England and Wales, usually under Section 24 or Section 24A of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.

Section 24,[1] as of January 1st 2006, provides that a constable may arrest, without a warrant, anyone who is about to commit or is currently committing an offence (or anyone the constable has reasonable grounds to believe to be about to commit or currently committing an offence). The constable is also entitled to arrest anyone guilty of an offence or anyone who he reasonably believes to be guilty of an offence. However, the constable must have reasonable grounds that any of the following reasons make it necessary to arrest the person in question: to enable the real name or address of the person in question to be ascertained, or to prevent the person in question -

  • causing physical injury to himself/herself or any other person,
  • suffering physical injury,
  • causing loss of or damage to property,
  • committing an offence against public decency (provided members of the public going about their normal business cannot reasonably be expected to avoid the person in question),
  • causing an unlawful obstruction of the highway.
  • 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,
  • to prevent any prosecution for the offence from being hindered by the disappearance of the person in question.

Section 24A has similar provisions for citizens' arrests but the reasons permitted for arrest by anyone other than a constable are limited to preventing the person in question from causing injury to the arrestor, themselves or to others; preventing property damage; or preventing the person in question from making off before a constable can assume responsibility for him.

The definition of an arrest, however, is contained in the judgement of Lord Diplock in Holgate-Mohammed v Duke, where he stated that an arrest is "a continuing act; it starts with the arrester taking a person into his custody, (sc. by action or words restraining him from moving anywhere beyond the arrester's control), and it continues until the person so restrained is either released from custody or, having been brought before a magistrate, is remanded in custody by the magistrate's judicial act." [2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, s24
  2. ^ [1984] AC 437, 441