Police Powers. What are the police powers. What are your legal rights. With arrest rates plummeting following the strict application of Code G, more and more suspect are being invited into the police station for a voluntary interview under caution. What does this mean? what are your legal rights? Are they the same as being in police detention? Do you still need legal advice? Your right to free legal advice remains the same, but indications are that suspects are waiving the right to legal advice as a voluntary interview under caution is thought less serious or less formal. It is still your absolute right to obtain legal advice. It is still your absolute right to communicate with anyone outside the police station as well as obtain free legal advice. The police powers are significantly less if a suspect is not arrested. No police powers of search. No police powers to take fingerprints or DNA. If invited for an interview under caution it maybe that the police have no need to exercise the additional police powers available to them. Police powers increase if the suspect has been arrested and is in police detention. The desire to not exercise these additional police powers does not infer that the matter for which the interview under caution is being conducted is any less serious. If invited for a voluntary interview under caution then a suspect should still exercise his right to legal advice. The police still reserve the right to make an arrest should it become necessary. For instance, if the suspect does not attend when invited for voluntary interview. If the suspect attempts to leave the voluntary interview. If the police have doubts concerning the identity of the suspect, or doubts concerning the suspect’s address, which may make the service of a summons difficult, then they may exercise the police powers of arrest.
Joy riding TWC TWOC TDA. Taking without consent, taking and driving away, taking a conveyance, stealing a car, nicking a car, or as the press likes to call it, Joy riding. For the purpose of this blog, sections 12 and 12A of the theft Act shall be known as joy riding.
All names for taking someone’s car, or boat, or motorcycle for your own or another’s use. Joy riding is not theft if there is no intention to deprive the owner of it permanently, so TWC or joy riding as it is known, was introduced to fill this loophole in the law. For the joy riding offence to be complete, the joy riding has to be for your own or another’s use. Simply moving a car that is causing an obstruction is not joy riding. Untying boats and letting them drift from the mooring is not joy riding, but taking one for a row is. Taking a car for a test drive and keeping it longer than permitted is not joy riding, because it was taken with permission (it could be theft of petrol however). Conveyance means any conveyance constructed or adapted for the carriage of a person or persons whether by land, water or air (planes!) It does not include a conveyance constructed or adapted for use only under the control of a person not carried in or on it. So wheeling away a handcart, wheelbarrow or shopping trolley is not joy riding even if your mate is in it!. There is a separate offence of taking a pedal cycle.
There is an aggravated offence called aggravated vehicle taking. Aggravated means made worse. If a mechanically propelled vehicle is taken without consent and it is proved that, at any time after the vehicle was unlawfully taken (whether by him or another) and before it was recovered, the vehicle was driven dangerously, an accident occurred which caused injury, damage to other property or the stolen vehicle, then the aggravated offence is complete. Aggravated vehicle taking elevates the maximum sentence from 6 months imprisonment to 2 years. So the advice is don’t take someone else’s car and go joy riding, but if you do don’t crash it. If you kill someone it is 14 years! There is also an offence of knowing that any conveyance has been taken without such authority, drives it or allows himself to be carried in or on it. This covers passengers in cars that go joy riding.
2016 expected to see an increase in solicitors online legal advice as citizens advice centres close and police invite more people to attend the police station for a voluntary interview under caution.
Festival security search powers. With the festival season about to start this a probably a timely reminder of the search powers that festival security staff have at music festivals.
Festival security are not police officers. Festival security do not have the power to search you or your property. Festival security have no power to search your car or your tent. Festival security do not have the power to use force to search you. You are not required to give your name and address to festival security. The only power that festival security have over and above any citizen powers is that of refusing you entry to the festival, or asking you to leave.
Festival security will argue that it is a condition of entry that you consent to be searched. What that means is that if you do not consent to be searched then the consequence is that you may be refused entry to the festival by festival security.
You can withdraw your consent to be searched at any time before or during the search. This is your legal right.
Some festival security staff now use passive drugs dogs to sniff you. If a festival security dog indicates that you may have drugs you can still refuse to be searched by festival security.
If a member of festival security uses force in order to search you without your consent , then this unlawful and is an assault. If this happens then you should report the matter to the police. This can be done at any time.
The festival security powers to use force to search are the same whether inside or outside the festival – none.
If you are arrested by police following an unlawful search by festival security then you should make your solicitor aware, as this is potentially a defence if the evidence was obtained unlawfully.
Festival security have also been known to cut off wristbands that have been lawfully purchased by the customer. If festival security use force to do this, say for instance your hands are in your pockets or in the air, then this is also an assault.
If you are assaulted this year at a festival by festival security be sure to ask the person who assaults you for his name. Report the matter as soon as possible to the police. It would help the police to identify him if his photograph was taken also.
Festival security do have the same powers as every other citizen. These are, where an indictable (can be heard at crown court) offence has been committed; they can arrest someone if…
• The person is causing physical injury to himself or others
• The person is suffering physical injury
• The person is causing loss of or damage to property
• The person is absconding before a constable can assume responsibility for him
These powers only exist where an indictable offence HAS been committed. There is no mention of searching.
The police do have powers to use force when searching, and can require the removal of clothing.
The police to not have a power to cut off wristbands on behalf of the festival organiser. This has been successfully challenged in the past. Unless the police want to seize the wristband as evidence of an offence then they have no power to use force to take it. Police officers work for the Crown not festival organisers.
Lawyers and legal advice are well beyond the budgets of ordinary people, a survey published this week has found.
Some 70 per cent of respondents to research conducted by Citizens Advice said they would not be able to afford a lawyer to advise on a problem or dispute. Only about 10 per cent were confident they could stump up the cost of legal fees.
One in three law centres set to shut down-Law Society Gazette
The number of criminal firms contracted to do criminal legal aid work is set to fall from 1,600 in 2013 to just 400 in the near future.
Cuts in funding – the principle of fair justice is being undermined by the growing number of criminal defendants forced to represent themselves in court, magistrates from across the country warn.
Hundreds of police officers around the country are to have their prejudices challenged by a training programme that aims to reduce discrimination among those using stop-and-search powers, a tactic that disproportionately targets people from ethnic minorities.
A quarter of police stop and searches are illegal: 250,000 people are stopped without officers sticking to the rules
- In 27 per cent of cases police did not have reasonable grounds
- This is the same as 250,000 people every year being stopped and searched
- The report warns of the potential to stir-up significant social unrest