“You are under arrest”. What does it mean? What are the extent of powers of arrest conferred to police officers? Read on to find out 5 things you need to know about the Powers of Arrest conferred to police officers.

  1. What amounts to an arrest?

To it to amount to an arrest, the person must have felt compelled to accompany the police officer; no words of arrest need to be used nor is there any need to physically restrain the person. That said, merely asking a person to attend investigation at a police station does not amount to arrest.

  1. When can an arrest be made?

Under the law, whether an arrest can be made is subject to whether the offence is arrestable or non-arrestable.

Arrestable offences are offences in which a police officer may arrest without warrant. Any police officer may arrest without a warrant if the person to be concerned is involved in an arrestable offence or is reasonably suspected to be involved in one.

Non-arrestable offences are offences where a police officer may not arrest without a warrant. Where an arrest without warrant is to be made, the person arrested shall be brought before a Magistrate’s Court without unnecessary delay.

  1. Who can make the arrest?

An arrest can be made by any police officer. The law also allows arrest by a private person (i.e. civilian) if the civilian is of the view that the person has committed an arrestable offence. He must then hand over the arrested person to the police officer without unnecessary delay.

  1. What are the rights upon arrest?

Every arrested person has the right to (a) be informed as soon as may be of grounds of his arrest; and to (b) consult and be defended by legal practitioner of his choice.

  1. What happens if the arrest was illegal?

Generally, the illegality of the arrest does not affect the court’s jurisdiction to try the arrested person. However, the arrested person has recourse to the following remedies:

  • Tort of false imprisonment or malicious prosecution;
  • Judicial review
  • Writ of habeas corpus to secure liberty
  • Compensation order (maximum of $10,000) against the prosecution, complainant or informant

Consult a criminal lawyer

Do you still have questions? Feel free to contact our criminal lawyers to find out more here.

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