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English Legal System

English Legal System (4th edn)

Steve Wilson, Helen Rutherford, Tony Storey, Natalie Wortley, and Birju Kotecha
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date: 30 May 2023

p. 44212. The criminal process: the suspect and the policelocked

p. 44212. The criminal process: the suspect and the policelocked

  • Steve Wilson, Steve WilsonFormer Principal Lecturer, Northumbria University, Newcastle
  • Helen Rutherford, Helen RutherfordSenior Lecturer, Northumbria University, Newcastle
  • Tony Storey, Tony StoreySenior Lecturer, Northumbria University, Newcastle
  • Natalie WortleyNatalie WortleyAssociate Professor, Northumbria University, Newcastle
  •  and Birju KotechaBirju KotechaSenior Lecturer, Northumbria University, Newcastle


In order to investigate a criminal offence, the police may need to stop and search, arrest, detain, and/or question a suspect. This chapter explains the key rules that govern the exercise of police powers. The use of stop and search powers, in particular, has long been controversial as there is evidence that black and Asian people are more likely to be stopped than white people. The chapter also considers powers of arrest and the way in which arrests should be carried out, as well as minimum rights and standards for the detention and questioning of suspects under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) Codes of Practice. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the factors that are considered when deciding whether to charge a suspect with a criminal offence.

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