Now that I am retired having been many years a magistrate with a long awareness of the declining freedoms enjoyed by the ordinary citizen and a corresponding fear of the big brother state`s ever increasing encroachment on civil liberties I hope that my personal observations within these general parameters will be of interest to those with an open mind. Having been blogging with this title for many years against the rules of the Ministry of Justice my new found freedom should allow me to be less inhibited in these observations.

Comments are usually moderated. However, I do not accept any legal responsibility for the content of any comment. If any comment seems submitted just to advertise a website it will not be published.

Monday, 15 August 2016


"Have you ever been arrested?"  Not an everyday sort of question but exactly the sort of question that can be on an application form for eg some types of insurance, a job, a visa or another inquiry where personal integrity is a pre requisite.  This is not so surprising as there has to be a prima facia case of law breaking. To quote the appropriate government website, "To arrest you the police need reasonable grounds to suspect you’re involved in a crime for which your arrest is necessary." According to Citizens` Advice..........


When can the police arrest you

Police can arrest you if they have a valid arrest warrant. There are also some situations where they can arrest you without a warrant. These are where:
  • you are in the act of committing certain offences
  • they have reasonable grounds for suspecting you are committing certain offences
  • they have reasonable grounds for suspecting you have committed certain offences
  • you are about to commit certain offences
  • they have reasonable grounds for suspecting you are about to commit certain offences.
The police can also arrest you if they have reasonable grounds for suspecting you have committed or attempted to commit any offence, or if you are committing or attempting to commit any offence, but it is impractical or inappropriate to serve a summons. However, they can only do this if one of the following conditions applies:
  • they do not know, and cannot get, your name
  • they think you have given a false name
  • you have not given a satisfactory address. This means an address where the police can contact you
  • they think you have given a false address
  • the arrest is necessary to prevent you causing physical injury to yourself or others, suffering physical injury, causing loss or damage to property, committing an offence against public decency, or causing an unlawful obstruction of the highway
  • they have reasonable grounds for believing that arrest is necessary to protect a child or other vulnerable person. 
So  far so clear.............However when a former Chief Constable admits that she told officers to "arrest first" and investigate later when dealing with rape cases one has to be concerned.  Presumably this instruction was based on the notion that victims have always to be believed in the first instance; a policy which, thankfully, is beginning to be perceived as misguided at best and oppressive at worst.  

Such was the operating procedure of the recent incumbent as Surrey Chief Constable.  Whether or not similar orders are still operating under the new Chief of that force cannot be ascertained from its website. That former Chief Constable now heads the National Crime Agency where as is the fashion all major departments are now "commands". On May 16th she made what I presume was her policy speech  in her new post.  In her opening she included ,"How do we build public confidence and avoid appearing distant from the public? And how can we ensure that we are always acting with the public’s consent?

My answer to her questions would be to admit that her policy in Surrey was flawed. 

1 comment:

  1. I am a JP, and many years ago I was arrested for credit card fraud, and held in the cells for a number of hours. I was never interviewed because I asked for a duty solicitor, and they could find one(?).

    But my comments such as "Would my credit card statement be of help?", encouraged the Police to look again at their evidence, and that the clock on CCTV and credit card machine did not agree.

    Being someone who has enjoyed residing in the cells, be it only for a few hours has not been detrimental to my life, but has reminded me of always ensuring I have evidence of any purchase, and the importance of keeping records.

    It's also given me a good story to tell.