KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
From a former police officer. Thank you. Knowing the law and your rights.
As a former Police Officer, I am becoming increasingly concerned at seeing incidents where the public are being arrested at will UNLAWFULLY
These are guidelines ONLY as from Government dictats, or Statutory Instruments, under the Public Health Act (Control of Diseases) Act 1984.
According to Lord Sumption, the Civil Contingencies Act of 2004 would be a much more appropriate piece of legislation.
So, why isn't this used instead? Because it would require an Act of Parliament and would provide stringent provisions for Parliamentary scrutiny.
What about the powers of arrest being seen to be abused so often?
Firstly, these are NOT for arrestable offences. These are strictly for crimes of assault, theft, which are summary or indictable offences.
Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 (harassment, alarm or distress) seems to be used the most often used, but this requires a warning to be issued.
The key points here are for 'a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for his personal safety'. So, quite open to interpretation and debatable in a Court of Law!
What about the conduct of Police Officers themselves?
They must be appropriately dressed for a start. The wearing of headgear is 'compulsory under Police Regulations' whilst performing public duties.
Seeing the propensity for TSG officers and the like to resort to unreasonable violence, brings up the prospect for citizens' arrest powers under Section 24(a) of PACE Act 1984. Here it states where 'a person can legally arrest anyone who is in the act of committing an indictable offence or whom the person has reasonable grounds to suspect is committing an indictable offence'. For example GBH/wounding (causing blood to flow) where a Police Officer has wounded a member of the public which a person of reasonable firmness would find fearful.
Furthermore, you have to believe that 'at the time of the arrest it is not reasonably practicable for a Police Officer to perform the arrest'. So, if a Police Officer were committing this offence, foreseeably you have the power to affect an arrest on a rogue Police Officer thereby compelling other Police Officers to act on this.
Section 3 of the Criminal Law Act 1967 provides everyone with the provision to use 'reasonable force'.
Where a Police Officer is NOT in the 'lawful execution of his/her duty' there are legal protections for you to resist arrest (assault/resist/obstruct Police under the Police Act 1996).
Section 25 of PACE Act 1984 provides for the scenario where 'a constable has reasonable grounds for suspecting that any offence which is not an arrestable offence has been committed or attempted, or is being committed or attempted, he may arrest the relevant person if it appears to him that service of a summons is impracticable or inappropriate because any of the general arrest conditions is satisfied'. The key words here are OFFENCE. The government's statutory instruments under the Public Health Act are NOT offences. They have been very liberal with 'mandatory', 'must' etc. These are not enforceable under law.
Finally, the issues of fines are under Fixed Penalty Notice regulations; these were established for 'relatively minor regulatory offences'. Again that word OFFENCE. It would be very difficult to persuade a Court of Law that £1,000s of fines under the Public Health Act are legitimate (funnily enough, CPS have dropped lots of such cases!).
So a scenario here. A person goes shopping at Tesco not wearing a mask. This person has an invisible undisclosed disability. The store staff detain this person or this person is detained by police officers. The person legitimately asks 'am I being detained?' If the answer is 'yes' then stand firm. If 'no' then politely continue on with the shopping.
For a 'yes' detention, the police officer(s), none of whom are wearing hats, some having hands in pockets (discipline offences), then question said person as to why they're not wearing a mask. Person states 'I am exempt'. This should be 'game over'.
However, the Police officer asks for reasons for exemption - instant discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 (court case on this basis alone against the numbered officer and potentially the Chief Constable also!)
Person refuses to provide details.
Police Officer(s) threaten arrest.
Person asks for what offence?
Police Officer(s) fails to clarify (this is a requirement under law to know the offence before or after the caution is stated)
Police Officer then states a fine will be issued.
Person declines to give details or says he is Mickey Mouse and he lives in Hollywood
Police Officer arrests person under Section 24 of PACE Act 1984 (for an offence?!)
Person requests to order a taxi to travel to the police station for personal reasons.
Request denied, person placed in police vehicle (Codes of Practice broken against person's taxi request)
On arrival at the Custody Centre, person confirms their right to a copy of the Codes of Practice, free legal advice and a phone call.
Person immediately lodges complaint request with the Duty Inspector on the circumstances of the arrest, drawing attention to unlawful imprisonment and Police discipline regulations.
Person, with legal advice, drafts a Statement under Caution to this effect for the consequent taped interview
Person reads this out and refuses to answer any subsequent questions (lawful right)
Person refuses to accept any fine(s) pleading 'not guilty' (clogging up the Court system which is at breaking point now anyway!)
After release, person immediately submits an online tribunal/court application for discrimination under the Equality Act 2010, counter suing the Police for unlawful arrest, unlawful imprisonment and breaches against the Codes of Practice.
I hope that this is useful!