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(p. 122) 11. Police powers 

(p. 122) 11. Police powers
(p. 122) 11. Police powers

Kate Malleson

, Richard Moules

, and Nicola Padfield


Note: An update has been made available on the Online Resource Centre (August 2010).

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date: 25 May 2020

Titles in the Core Text series take the reader straight to the heart of the subject, providing focused, concise, and reliable guides for students at all levels. This chapter reviews police powers under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) 1984. It sets out the powers of the police on the street and in the police station, highlighting the politically controversial nature of the use of powers against people from minority ethnic groups. It contrasts the relatively limited effectiveness of PACE in regulating stop and search powers on the street with the better-regulated detention regime in the police station. It reviews the impact of the Human Rights Act (HRA) 1998 on police powers and argues that although PACE in general complies with the European Convention on Human Rights many claims of breaches of PACE now rely on s 6 HRA 1998. It emphasizes the role of police discretion and concludes that the ways in which this discretion is exercised is a key factor in determining the degree of fairness, effectiveness, and legitimacy of police powers. The recent strengthening of police powers is further evidence of the general trend to ‘rebalance’ the criminal justice process away from the rights of the suspect and defendant in favour of the victim and the goal of increasing the conviction rate.

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