The accountability of the police
The police force in the UK and in other countries around the world performs an extremely valuable public service in protecting the citizens of that particular country. The powers to arrest individuals on the grounds that they believe them to have committed an offence are a power which is necessary for the proper functioning of society.
However, this means that this power is potentially open to abuse.
If police officers are deemed to have abused this power of arrest can they be sanctioned by the courts?
What does it mean to abuse power of arrest?
There are certain grounds which a police officer will have to show as a reason for arrest and this is where the potential for abuse becomes apparent. It is certainly possible for an individual police officer to falsify grounds for arrest in order to ensure that they arrest a specific individual.
Why would a police officer wish to falsify an arrest?
There are many reasons why an individual police officer would falsify an arrest. In some cases the police may know that an individual has been guilty of certain offences but there is not enough evidence to link that individual to the criminal offences. The police may then falsify certain information or create a supposed incident which they can then pin on that individual.
Police may also wish to obtain certain arrests in order to improve their arrest statistics, so they may believe they can falsify evidence in order to pin a particular crime on a certain individual in order to show an improvement in their statistics.
If the police know that an individual is a criminal and they falsify some evidence, is this such a bad thing?
Some individuals may think that if the police falsify certain information and use this in order to arrest an individual who they know to be a criminal it would be a desirable position as it will protect the rest of society from an individual who is a known offender.
However, in order to protect the rights of every individual in a democratic society this would be an extremely undesirable position if the police were not accountable for falsifying information in this way.
If an individual police officer is found guilty of falsely arresting someone will they face criminal charges?
If an individual police officer is found guilty of falsely arresting an individual then they will face criminal prosecution and likely face a jail term.
Is this something which is likely to happen?
In a recent case a Metropolitan Police commander has been found guilty of falsely arresting an individual and furthermore of making up details of a supposed assault which never actually happened.
What sanctions did he face?
On being found guilty of falsely arresting a suspect and perverting the course of justice the police commander was sentenced to four years imprisonment.
Would it be likely that an individual police officer found guilty of this offence would also lose their job?
It is extremely likely that an individual found guilty of this kind of offence would also lose their job as it would be an untenable position to keep someone on the police force who had been convicted of this kind of criminal offence.