12/30/2005UK Makes Not Wearing a Seatbelt an Arrestable Offense
Police in UK given the power to arrest anyone for almost any reason including speeding, littering, failing to use a turn signal or wear a seat belt.
Those who litter, speed or fail to wear a seat belt in the UK could wind up in handcuffs thanks to a provision of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 that takes effect on Sunday. Under the old UK law, an individual only faced arrest for offenses that carried at least five years in jail as punishment.
"A constable may arrest without a warrant... anyone whom he has reasonable grounds for suspecting to be about to commit an offence," the new law reads. An officer now need only say that the arrest was necessary "to allow the prompt and effective investigation of the offence" to justify his actions without regard to how minor the original infraction may have been.
The law also gives officers the power to photograph any "suspect" for any crime, including the most insignificant of traffic tickets. This photograph is maintained in a police database even if an individual is later found to be innocent of any crime.
Article Excerpt:Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 Chapter 15 - continued
110 Powers of arrest
(1) For section 24 of PACE (arrest without warrant for arrestable offences) substitute-
"24 Arrest without warrant: constables
(1) A constable may arrest without a warrant-
(a) anyone who is about to commit an offence;
(b) anyone who is in the act of committing an offence;
(c) anyone whom he has reasonable grounds for suspecting to be about to commit an offence;
(d) anyone whom he has reasonable grounds for suspecting to be committing an offence.
(2) If a constable has reasonable grounds for suspecting that an offence has been committed, he may arrest without a warrant anyone whom he has reasonable grounds to suspect of being guilty of it.
(3) If an offence has been committed, a constable may arrest without a warrant-
(a) anyone who is guilty of the offence;
(b) anyone whom he has reasonable grounds for suspecting to be guilty of it.
(4) But the power of summary arrest conferred by subsection (1), (2) or (3) is exercisable only if the constable has reasonable grounds for believing that for any of the reasons mentioned in subsection (5) it is necessary to arrest the person in question.
(5) The reasons are-
(a) to enable the name of the person in question to be ascertained (in the case where the constable does not know, and cannot readily ascertain, the person's name, or has reasonable grounds for doubting whether a name given by the person as his name is his real name);
(b) correspondingly as regards the person's address;
(c) to prevent the person in question-
(i) causing physical injury to himself or any other person;
(ii) suffering physical injury;
(iii) causing loss of or damage to property;
(iv) committing an offence against public decency (subject to subsection (6)); or
(v) causing an unlawful obstruction of the highway;
(d) to protect a child or other vulnerable person from the person in question;
(e) to allow the prompt and effective investigation of the offence or of the conduct of the person in question;
(f) to prevent any prosecution for the offence from being hindered by the disappearance of the person in question.
(6) Subsection (5)(c)(iv) applies only where members of the public going about their normal business cannot reasonably be expected to avoid the person in question.
Photographing of suspects etc.
116 Photographing of suspects etc.
(1) Section 64A of PACE (photographing of suspects etc.) is amended as follows.
(2) After subsection (1) insert-
"(1A) A person falling within subsection (1B) below may, on the occasion of the relevant event referred to in subsection (1B), be photographed elsewhere than at a police station-
(a) with the appropriate consent; or
(b) if the appropriate consent is withheld or it is not practicable to obtain it, without it.
(1B) A person falls within this subsection if he has been-
(a) arrested by a constable for an offence;
(b) taken into custody by a constable after being arrested for an offence by a person other than a constable;
(c) made subject to a requirement to wait with a community support officer under paragraph 2(3) or (3B) of Schedule 4 to the Police Reform Act 2002 ("the 2002 Act");
(d) given a penalty notice by a constable in uniform under Chapter 1 of Part 1 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001, a penalty notice by a constable under section 444A of the Education Act 1996, or a fixed penalty notice by a constable in uniform under section 54 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988;
(e) given a notice in relation to a relevant fixed penalty offence (within the meaning of paragraph 1 of Schedule 4 to the 2002 Act) by a community support officer by virtue of a designation applying that paragraph to him; or
(f) given a notice in relation to a relevant fixed penalty offence (within the meaning of paragraph 1 of Schedule 5 to the 2002 Act) by an accredited person by virtue of accreditation specifying that that paragraph applies to him."
(3) In subsection (4)(a), after "prosecution" insert "or to the enforcement of a sentence".
(4) In subsection (5), after paragraph (b) insert"; and
(c) "sentence" includes any order made by a court in England and Wales when dealing with an offender in respect of his offence."
(5) After subsection (6) insert-
"(6A) In this section, a "photograph" includes a moving image, and corresponding expressions shall be construed accordingly."