Power of arrest
|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (February 2013)|
The power of arrest is a mandate given by a central authority that allows an individual to remove a criminal's (or suspected criminal's) liberty. The power of arrest can also be used to protect a person, or persons from harm or to protect damage to property.
Arrest usually leads to the person being subject to police custody or the custody of another government authority. In many countries, the power of arrest has now been extended to not only the Police, but to other law enforcement agencies such as Immigration, Customs & Excise and authorised Bailiffs, etc.
Individuals with powers of arrest
Originally, powers of arrest were confined to sheriffs in England for a local area. Over the past few hundred years, the legal power of arrest has gradually expanded to include a large number of people/officials, the majority of which have come to the fore more recently. These various individuals all may utilise similar or different powers of arrest, but generally adhere to one particular field.
The individuals below have been listed in order of when the power of arrest became available to the individual, starting from the earliest.
England & Wales
The following individuals all have various powers of arrest or detention within England & Wales in various capacities using the following legislation/law:
- Common law
- s24 Police Criminal Evidence Act 1984
- s46A Police Criminal Evidence Act 1984
- s31 Police Criminal Evidence Act 1984
- s32 Children & Young Persons Act 1969
- Schedule 2 of the Immigration Act 1971
- Section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983
- s49 of the Prison Act 1952
- s6D of the Road Traffic Act 1988
- s41 of the Terrorism Act 2000
- s1 & s13 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 (warrants)
- s7 of the Bail Act 1976
Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs)
Members of public ("Other persons" i.e. anyone who is not a constable)
- Common law - now only to prevent a Breach of the Peace
- s.24A Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 - for criminal offences not limited to summary trial alone
- s67/69 Armed Forces Act 2006
Epping Forest Keepers (park rangers)
In the United States, various law enforcement officers are able to legally arrest citizens. Due to the complexity of the American civil legal system, including the interactions between federal, state, county, and local jurisdictions, there are numerous special cases that apply, depending on the reason for the arrest.