PCSO arrest under S.24a PACE (i.e. citizen's arrest)

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PCSO arrest under S.24a PACE (i.e. citizen's arrest)

Post by JimmyRiddle » Thu Jun 12, 2008 8:23 pm

I apologise if this has been asked before, but after reading til my eyes became sore on PNLD, I have a question re: the above.

Say I detained for crim. dam under PRA2002 AND they failed to provide details, that would make the detention legitimate. Now they're trying to make off. Can I now tell them I have placed them under arrest under s.24a of PACE for the same offence because a constable is not currently there to assume responsibility for them? This also gives me the use of reasonable force.

I notice a similar situation was also shown on the 'New Blues' prog on BBC1 the other day. Has anyone actually heard of a PCSO defaulting onto these common law/citizen's arrest powers and a getting succesful charge. I know it's a bit of a can of worms, the way I see it is that we're NOT Police Officers and therefore are still citizens even in uniform on the beat. They can never take away these powers from you.

I believe a big hurdle will be the fact that the assisting PCs / custody suite may not have come across this situation before.

Any thoughts?
Power of arrest for PCSOs for 'as and when' - s24a PACE & common law (i.e. BoP) using s3 CLA 1967

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Re: PCSO arrest under S.24a PACE (i.e. citizen's arrest)

Post by jimbo » Thu Jun 12, 2008 10:57 pm

If you saw them committing criminal damage, you wouldn't be able to detain under CSO powers anyway - it'd be a straight s.24a PACE arrest. The PRA specifies the relevant offences the detention power exists for.
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Re: PCSO arrest under S.24a PACE (i.e. citizen's arrest)

Post by mr black » Fri Jun 13, 2008 12:01 am

we coverd this on our training

force policy "blocks" us from using our common law power however apparently if we are correct in our actions then the force would back us.... however if you turned out to be in the wrong on partly in the wrong then im sure our force would leave you out to dry .....
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Re: PCSO arrest under S.24a PACE (i.e. citizen's arrest)

Post by tim419 » Fri Jun 13, 2008 1:56 am

JimmyRiddle this has been covered a number of times but it still a very valid point, so worth looking at again. In your criminal damage example, let's assume you are on patrol, maybe with another PCSO colleague, and no police officer present.

First, before thinking about detention powers, you MUST witness the alleged offence rather than just be told about it by someone else. If you've witnessed this offence, you then have the power (subject to exactly what is written on your DESIGNATION CARD) to require a satisfactory name and address from the suspect. If they give you this, then that's it - they are free to walk away. You have NO further detention power as far as those facts can take you.

If you DON'T get satisfactory details and they walk off, you may well be thinking "arrest". The Any Person power is available to all of us under s24 PACE. HOWEVER....as a PCSO you are neither trained, equipped, empowered or skilled in arresting and securing offenders. For that reason alone, force policies say NO.

If you decide nonetheless that you are going to use your Any Person power (force policy doesn't trump the law), you need to think of a few things first, like:-

1) is this an Indictable offence? If it's not (ie. summary only, like TDA), then you DON'T have any power of arrest whatsoever, as a civilian.

2) criminal damage is indictable... so what are you going to do once you've arrested them? Hopefully the prisoner will be all nice and calm like on The Bill...but what if they're not? You have NO power of search post-arrest (s32 PACE only applies to police officers, whatever else you may have heard), you have NO means of securing the prisoner (no cuffs), the very limited "post-detention searching" power that SOME of you have ONLY applies to PRA DETENTIONS, NOT "arrest"...
..I welcome any differing views here, by just asking you to highlight the act/section that says you CAN do this in an Arrest situation......

3) you have a duty of care to your colleague and they likewise to you. I couldn't believe that NEW BLUE programme where the (tutor?) PCSO suffered red mist and went running off into the darkness chasing after some oik with alcohol who been taunting him. What on earth was he going to do if he caught him? Even the student PCSO asked him that....and whilst he legged it for the cameras, he left his colleague totally alone with the crowd of youths.....

4) so you're struggling with this prisoner - for what is really a minor offence......risking injury or worse (because they've not been searched) for a bit of damage to something?

5) so how familiar are you with the criminal damage legislation? have you considered the relevant Points to Prove in the offence, because if just one element is missing, you DON'T have the offence. Are there any Statutory Defences a suspect can later refer to that you might not have considered (do you understand what this means and why it is important?)

6) if you make an arrest for all the best reasons, which later turns out not to have been so clear cut as it may have first seemed, YOU may find yourself on the end of litigation for false imprisonment, assault etc, through an ill-thought out arrest. NO court will think "oh bless, the PCSO was just trying to do what they thought was right, let's be grateful for what they do and give them a break just for once".....

A police officer receives extensive training and equipment for this kind of role - you don't.

Stick to observe and report - there are very good reasons why the policy says what it does, and contrary to what some people seem to think, it ISN'T about trying to save money or prevent the Job "getting sued". It is far more to do with just trying to keep you safe and send you home in one piece at the end of the shift, rather than needlessly risk everything & your future, all for some stupid graffiti merchant or window breaker.

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Re: PCSO arrest under S.24a PACE (i.e. citizen's arrest)

Post by oli » Fri Jun 13, 2008 12:46 pm

The other day a call came over the radio of a possible burglary happening, I made the area along with a load of police officers who spread out. Two known males were seen running away from the area and were failing to stop and speak to police which aroused suspicion.
At this time no one had been to the scene to confirm if a burgalry had happened..

...One of the males seen running away ran away from a police van, up a grass verge and over a fence right infront of me but I couldn't arrest the male because I didnt know the burglary had happened, even though he had been suspected because of his actions and being in the locality.

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Re: PCSO arrest under S.24a PACE (i.e. citizen's arrest)

Post by Rekhmire » Fri Jun 13, 2008 1:15 pm

Excellent post.

Thank you

tim419 wrote:JimmyRiddle this has been covered a number of times but it still a very valid point, so worth looking at again. In your criminal damage example, let's assume you are on patrol, maybe with another PCSO colleague, and no police officer present.

First, before thinking about detention powers, you MUST witness the alleged offence rather than just be told about it by someone else. If you've witnessed this offence, you then have the power (subject to exactly what is written on your DESIGNATION CARD) to require a satisfactory name and address from the suspect. If they give you this, then that's it - they are free to walk away. You have NO further detention power as far as those facts can take you.

If you DON'T get satisfactory details and they walk off, you may well be thinking "arrest". The Any Person power is available to all of us under s24 PACE. HOWEVER....as a PCSO you are neither trained, equipped, empowered or skilled in arresting and securing offenders. For that reason alone, force policies say NO.

If you decide nonetheless that you are going to use your Any Person power (force policy doesn't trump the law), you need to think of a few things first, like:-

1) is this an Indictable offence? If it's not (ie. summary only, like TDA), then you DON'T have any power of arrest whatsoever, as a civilian.

2) criminal damage is indictable... so what are you going to do once you've arrested them? Hopefully the prisoner will be all nice and calm like on The Bill...but what if they're not? You have NO power of search post-arrest (s32 PACE only applies to police officers, whatever else you may have heard), you have NO means of securing the prisoner (no cuffs), the very limited "post-detention searching" power that SOME of you have ONLY applies to PRA DETENTIONS, NOT "arrest"...
..I welcome any differing views here, by just asking you to highlight the act/section that says you CAN do this in an Arrest situation......

3) you have a duty of care to your colleague and they likewise to you. I couldn't believe that NEW BLUE programme where the (tutor?) PCSO suffered red mist and went running off into the darkness chasing after some oik with alcohol who been taunting him. What on earth was he going to do if he caught him? Even the student PCSO asked him that....and whilst he legged it for the cameras, he left his colleague totally alone with the crowd of youths.....

4) so you're struggling with this prisoner - for what is really a minor offence......risking injury or worse (because they've not been searched) for a bit of damage to something?

5) so how familiar are you with the criminal damage legislation? have you considered the relevant Points to Prove in the offence, because if just one element is missing, you DON'T have the offence. Are there any Statutory Defences a suspect can later refer to that you might not have considered (do you understand what this means and why it is important?)

6) if you make an arrest for all the best reasons, which later turns out not to have been so clear cut as it may have first seemed, YOU may find yourself on the end of litigation for false imprisonment, assault etc, through an ill-thought out arrest. NO court will think "oh bless, the PCSO was just trying to do what they thought was right, let's be grateful for what they do and give them a break just for once".....

A police officer receives extensive training and equipment for this kind of role - you don't.

Stick to observe and report - there are very good reasons why the policy says what it does, and contrary to what some people seem to think, it ISN'T about trying to save money or prevent the Job "getting sued". It is far more to do with just trying to keep you safe and send you home in one piece at the end of the shift, rather than needlessly risk everything & your future, all for some stupid graffiti merchant or window breaker.

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Re: PCSO arrest under S.24a PACE (i.e. citizen's arrest)

Post by tim419 » Fri Jun 13, 2008 1:45 pm

Glad to assist!

Oli, I am a bit confused by your post. You say there was a call to a possible burglary, and at the scene two "known"(I'm assuming known for burglary or other similar crime) blokes legged it from police and ran away past you, but... you didn't intervene because you didn't "know" a burglary had taken place?

Well, if you decide not to actively intervene because that's not your role as a PCSO, then fair enough. But if the only reason you didn't do so was because the alleged burglary was not "confirmed", then I'm a bit speechless to be honest! What were you hoping for, a signed victim statement first before moving in on the suspect?! It's just not like that out there is it.

From a police perspective - at or near to the scene of a possible burglary, anyone running off from police is fair game to get nicked there and then, especially if they are "known". Don't need to know anything else at that stage, it's that simple.

As a PCSO (and like I've said before, I'm not a fan of PCSOs making arrests routinely), you've heard the radio call and believe that an indictable offence (burglary) has taken place. If chummy outwits the PCs and then runs past you to get away, you have more than enough at that moment to grab them for burglary, should you wish to do so, and if your dynamic risk assessment makes this a valid tactical option.

My earlier post about personally having to witness something, rather than being told it by someone else, is ONLY in relation to a PCSO using their Designated Powers, which is a very different situation to making an arrest.

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Re: PCSO arrest under S.24a PACE (i.e. citizen's arrest)

Post by oli » Fri Jun 13, 2008 2:20 pm

quote from PNLD
2. You can make an arrest if the suspect is actually committing the offence or if you reasonably suspect them of committing it, or when the offence has[/size] been committed and you reasonably suspect them of having committed it.


I wasnt sure that an offence had been commited and it was in the post stage of this

Other guidance on this

P knows that an arrestable offence has (definitely) been committed, and has reasonable grounds to suspect that D committed it


Again the report came over of a "possible" burglary and this had not been confirmed and would of never had stood up in court if one hadnt have happened and i had been assaulted whilst trying to affect the arrest. Plus there is the fact i dont get paid to arrest in the first place nor will i be compinsated if assaulted in doing such.

Police officers on the other hand only have to suspect the offence has been commited...

If it had been confirmed that the offence had been commited by an officer that arived at the scene i would of been more than happy to arrest given the terms of arrest civilans have.

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Re: PCSO arrest under S.24a PACE (i.e. citizen's arrest)

Post by jimbo » Fri Jun 13, 2008 2:30 pm

I'm with Oli here - it's not a CSOs job, and he was acting completely within his remit.

The powers that are available are limited and TBH a CSO feeling unsure about powers and stepping back is a PCSO that is thinking a lot more than one that just leaps in without knowing whether they can.

Incidentally, if a Police Officer asks you to help or detain someone, everyone has a common law power (and in fact duty) to assist a constable.
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Re: PCSO arrest under S.24a PACE (i.e. citizen's arrest)

Post by tim419 » Fri Jun 13, 2008 2:44 pm

I'm not criticising you Oli, and as a PCSO you have no compulsion to intervene as I've said, which is perfectly appropriate. However you rasie the question of intervening so I am just giving you an answer - I think you are reading too much into "arrest" and "reasonable grounds". With respect, this lack of knowledge is one more reason why PCSOs should avoid the whole arrest thing as a rule.

The PNLD quote is clear - you think an offence has taken place (there's been a call on the radio to a burglary and you've gone to the location,even if you don't know the exact address, if there really has been a burglary or anything else). Two blokes run off and refuse to stop for police. Now either at that stage you have "reasonable grounds" to suspect their involvement in burglary, or maybe you feel you don't and you need more.

I'm happy that as soon as I see them taking off near the scene of an alleged burglary, that's all the reasonable grounds I need to nick for the offence. Others may not agree - luckily we're both right as it's up to us as individuals to decide and be accountable.

If there is no burglary, fair enough, I've acted appropriately, no worries.

If there has been a burglary, I may well have the two suspects in the bin there and then, rather than faffing around to confirm everything, letting them get away.

In this circumstance, you as a PCSO and me as a police officer have the same powers of arrest and the same tactical options.

You misinterpret the "suspect" bit - as far as arresting goes, you can act if an indictable offence IS or HAS been committed. The only time you can't is in the IS ABOUT TO stage (whereas we can). The idea that I only have to "suspect" an offence has been committed whereas you think you have to "KNOW" it definately has, is TOTALLY WRONG.

The business about "standing up in court" is irrelevant. You act in on what you know at the time or the facts as available. If anything ever goes to court at a later date, well that's a whole different issue and not something I am concerned with when I'm dealing with an incident. It's enough to take the right actions at a scene without trying to second-guess what CPS may or may not do later.

As a PCSO you're right you have no positive duty to intervene, and that's fine. But you seem to have misunderstood the whole arrest concept and the amount of detail needed to have "reasonable grounds". It's nowhere near as much as you might think.

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Re: PCSO arrest under S.24a PACE (i.e. citizen's arrest)

Post by oli » Fri Jun 13, 2008 2:49 pm

Thanks Jimbo, I was not asked by any officer to assist so the commonlaw bit did not apply

Tim, if its after the even an offence HAS to have taken place only the suspicion bit applies if its in the present ie you suspect its happening infront of you...


I finally found the caselaw that i was thinking of when making my decision
R v Self

R v Self (1992) 156 JP 397. This Court of Appeal decision should bear a Government health warning, "it is dangerous to boldly go where few men dare to venture": the case concerns the publicly spirited concept of the citizen's arrest. In s.24(5) PACE Act 1984 powers of arrest without warrant (AWW) are given if an arrestable offence (AO) has been committed. As a condition precedent an offence must have been committed, herein lies the danger.

The appellant stole a bar of chocolate valued at 79p belonging to Woolworths. He was seen by a store detective to take the chocolate and walk out of the store without paying for it. The store detective and a sales assistant saw him take the chocolate from his pocket and place it in his car.

When challenged there was a scuffle during which the assistant was punched scratched and kicked. The appellant decamped. During a chase a man who had seen the scuffle asked the store detective if he needed a hand. Upon being told yes, he made a citizen's arrest. He believed the appellant had been stealing. In a struggle to get away the appellant kicked the man above his knee.

The appellant was charged with theft and two counts of assault with intent to resist or prevent his lawful apprehension or detainer, contrary to s.38 Offences Against the Person Act 1861. His defence was he had forgotten about the chocolate and had no intention of stealing it, and, he had been unwell. He was acquitted of theft, but conditionally discharged for the assaults.

Powers of arrest are divided into two categories; those which anyone (including a constable) may exercise and those that can be used only by a constable. Section 24(5) of the Pace Act 1984 provides: "Where an AO has been committed, any person may (AWW), (a) anyone who is quilty of the offence: (b) anyone whom he has reasonable grounds for suspecting to be quilty of it.

This can be contrasted with sub-section (6) which deals with a constables power of arrest: this could be termed "the double negative": there are double reasonable grounds for suspecting, both as to the commission of the offence and the person who has committed it.

Counsel for the Crown asked why the court had to inquire into the exact moment when the ingredients of theft came together - when to analyse the offence carefully may produce absurd results, so that in one set of circumstances the offence may be complete and the situation fall within sub-section (5) and in another be still being committed and fall within sub-section (4).

However the Court of Appeal found the words of the statute abundantly clear: in subsection (5) the powers of (AWW) where an (AO) had been committed required as a condition precedent, an offence must have been committed.

Since there had been an acquittal of the arrestable offence (theft), no offence had been committed and the appellant could not be convicted of the assaults. Neither of the citizen's had any power of arrest. The convictions were quashed.
Although this is different to my situation It shows the relevance of why you have to be really careful in your decision to arrest...

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Re: PCSO arrest under S.24a PACE (i.e. citizen's arrest)

Post by tim419 » Fri Jun 13, 2008 4:19 pm

Oli, good post with this caselaw. However, that case was about someone who was acquitted of a primary offence (theft) but somehow remained convicted of secondary offences (assault) arising from the primary offence. Once the main offence is out the window, the secondary charges normally go the same way, if they are built on the first incident. This caselaw is NOT about trying to make sure everything is dotted and crossed, before taking any action.

With this incident, you have enough in my opinion from the off. Don't forget there is a HUGE difference between "arrest" and "charge". Many very good arrests don't make it to charge, because of insufficient evidence on later enquiries etc. This does NOT undermine the initial arrest or cause any problem.

With regard to maybe getting assaulted, well, this is a good point. If there wasn't actually a burglary and you took hold of a potential suspect, I don't see an issue with that except any subsequent assault charge if they resisted may not go the distance. As a PCSO, a far better option surely would be to observe and report - follow the suspects and call in their route, to get officers in (I hope that your original post didn't intimate that you just stood back and didn't do anything, I'm sure that wasn't the case) and apprehend the suspects.

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Re: PCSO arrest under S.24a PACE (i.e. citizen's arrest)

Post by JimmyRiddle » Sat Jun 14, 2008 3:09 pm

The phrase "can of worms" seems to spring to mind!

Thanks for the input guys. I'd be very hesitant to take any action on the above without knowing EVERYTHING about everything as Tim says. More research needed basically!

Anyway, I apologise for more questions, but here it goes!:

silly question...
Last edited by JimmyRiddle on Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Power of arrest for PCSOs for 'as and when' - s24a PACE & common law (i.e. BoP) using s3 CLA 1967

I'm a PCSO, I will WATCH you get your head kicked in (as per force policy)

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Re: PCSO arrest under S.24a PACE (i.e. citizen's arrest)

Post by tim419 » Sat Jun 14, 2008 7:48 pm

You are getting confused over the use of the word "summary".

"Summary" can mean minor Magistrates Court-only offences, with a maximum custodial sentence of 6 months. You DON'T have any power of arrest for these offences under any circumstances.

But in your s24 quote, "summary arrest" does NOT refer to these offences. Instead here "summary arrest" just means "direct" or "immediate" arrest for an indictable offence, without any specific warrant or other direction required (think of "summary execution" or "summary justice" - meaning direct/immediate action there and then).

All this means is that since SOCPA it is not enough just to have the offence (eg theft shoplifting) - in order to effect a summary (ie. immediate) arrest at the scene, for an indictable offence, a member of the public must also show one of the four conditions listed being present also. If this is missing the arrest may be unlawful. Same for us in that as well as offence, we must include at least one ID-COPPLAN element to have a lawful arrest (and a police officer can of course summarily arrest for any offence, whether Summary or Indictable).

Two very different meanings of "summary" - confusing innit, but no can of worms really.

With regard to using your ASB designation to detain for "anything", good point if you can evidence....but if the miscreant gives you their name and a satisfactory address (which does NOT have to be a home address - just one suitable for service of a summons if required), then your Detention Power ceases there and then. Before even thinking about usnig s24 in a detention scenario, you should ask yourself (1) what does your Designation Card say and (2) what is your force policy?

If you HAVE a power to detain (like Met PCSOs) then great BUT....are there limitations? In the Met, "detention" simply means telling someone they must remain with the PCSO and are not free to go. If the person says Sod You and goes to leave, the PCSO is NOT permitted to physically stop them, so a subsequent foot chase or bundle - arising just from non-compliance with detention request - is NOT an option.

You have power to detain for ASB and other things - what does your force tell you to do if you meet non-compliance in this situation? Ultimately, s24 is NOT an option because the offence of Failing to Comply with PCSOs Detention Direction is ONLY a summary (ie. Magistrates Court only) offence. No power of arrest under any circumstances for PCSO or MoP - the ONLY person who MIGHT arrest here is a police officer, and then ONLY if an element of ID-COPPLAN is also present.

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Re: PCSO arrest under S.24a PACE (i.e. citizen's arrest)

Post by JimmyRiddle » Mon Jun 16, 2008 2:11 pm

Cheers for clearing that up Tim.

The use of the word "summary" is quite confusing in this context!

Anyway, our force policy of s24a PACE is just don't do it, but apparently will back you up if you do (have to be seen to be believed).

If detaining for PRA2002 for ASB, would caution (so they start to realise), tell them offence to give false/not provide or make off. I ain't had to do it yet as I've never really had to wrestle with people like some of the other PCSOs do, but I would place myself infront of them to stop them moving off and do so in a manner which meant I could justify protecting my physical safety.

Naughty I know, but if they realise we can't/won't chase after them, then we are just going to become a complete joke! And if you think about it, MoPs have more power (e.g. shop theft resulting in a struggle - one of the four conditions - loss of/damage to property) than we actually do. So I'd have to justify the self/other protection route I guess.

But I am also aware that if for example I detained and they ran off, I pursued and they got run over then one thing I could be certain of would be my uncertain fate re: prosecution!
Power of arrest for PCSOs for 'as and when' - s24a PACE & common law (i.e. BoP) using s3 CLA 1967

I'm a PCSO, I will WATCH you get your head kicked in (as per force policy)

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