Analysis Of Provisions Related To Police Powers

6186 words - 25 pages

Analysis of Provisions Related to Police Powers
Civil rights are the freedoms and rights that a person may have as a
member of a community, state, or nation. They include a person’s
freedom of speech, actions, and religion. They also include the rights
for one to own property, and receive fair and equal treatment from the
state, government, and other people. The courts are the governing
bodies that decide whether a persons civil rights have been violated.
They also determine the limit of such rights so that people do not use
their personal freedom in order to violate such rights. The society
that we live in is classed as a ‘free society’ (Stone, 2004; 67)
whereby citizens have the right to carry out everyday tasks without an
explanation to those in authority. Ones personal freedoms are greatly
respected as identified in the European Convention of Human Rights Act
1988. However important ones personal freedom is it can still be
intervened with by those in authority. Such invasion of ones personal
freedom is authorised by the state. A prime example of this is upon
reasonable grounds to do so the police have the power to arrest,
search, seize, and detain someone or something. The rest of this paper
will look at such powers in more detail ‘analysing the provisions
relating to the police powers of arrest, search, seizure, and
detention. And comment upon the continuing debate to whether these
powers are excessive or insufficient to allow the police to carry out
their work efficiently’.

Most of the powers that the police have in relation to stop, search,
and arrests are enclosed in the Police and Criminal evidence act 1984,
generally known as PACE. Codes of practices are also key elements of
the framework of legislature providing the police with powers they
need to combat crime. PACE came into force in January 1986; it was one
of the first pieces of legislation that delineated the powers that the
police service had. Not only does PACE set out he powers of the police
it also balances these powers with the rights and freedom of the
public. Before this act was established the powers of the police force
were very ambiguous. Many people seen them as being outdated and less
people abided by them. The Human Rights act 1988 is also taken into
consideration when looking at the powers that the police have in
relation to crime as it limits the powers of the police in relation to
ones personal freedom.

When looking at PACE and other significant legislation it becomes
clear that most of the powers given to the police in relation to
arrest, search, seizure, and detention incorporate ones ‘reasonable
suspicion’. The Royal Commission (1981) states that;

‘There must be safeguards to protect members of the public from
random,...

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