Assaulting a constable in the execution of his duty is a statutory offence of aggravated assault in England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Hong Kong.
An assault is the act of inflicting physical harm or unwanted physical contact upon a person or, in some specific legal definitions, a threat or attempt to commit such an action. It is both a crime and a tort and, therefore, may result in either criminal and/or civil liability. Generally, the common law definition is the same in criminal and tort law.
England and Wales is a legal jurisdiction covering England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom. ’England and Wales’ forms the constitutional successor to the former Kingdom of England and follows a single legal system, known as English law.
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, the North Sea to the northeast, the Irish Sea to the south, and the North Channel to the southwest. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.
Section 89(1) of the Police Act 1996 provides:
Any person who assaults a constable in the execution of his duty, or a person assisting a constable in the execution of his duty, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or to both.
The standard scale is a system whereby financial criminal penalties (fines) in legislation have maximum levels set against a standard scale. Then, when inflation makes it necessary to increase the levels of the fines the legislators need to modify only the scale rather than every individual piece of legislation.
It is a summary offence. The "starting sentence" is a short custodial sentence, and it is considered a more serious offence than common assault.
A summary offence is a crime in some common law jurisdictions that can be proceeded against summarily, without the right to a jury trial and/or indictment.
The constable must be acting "in the execution of his duty" for this offence to be made out. If he exceeds the remit of his duty (e.g. acts unlawfully in assaulting the Defendant), the offence will not be made out.
The Defendant does not actually have to be aware that the person he is assaulting is a constable.
The fact that the victim is a police officer is not, in itself, an aggravating factor which would justify more serious charge. The criteria for a charge under section 47 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 do not distinguish between members of the public and police officers as the victim.
The Offences against the Person Act 1861 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It consolidated provisions related to offences against the person from a number of earlier statutes into a single Act. For the most part these provisions were, according to the draftsman of the Act, incorporated with little or no variation in their phraseology. It is one of a group of Acts sometimes referred to as the criminal law consolidation Acts 1861. It was passed with the object of simplifying the law. It is essentially a revised version of an earlier consolidation Act, the Offences against the Person Act 1828, incorporating subsequent statutes.
According to R (Fullard) v Woking Magistrates' Court (2005) EWHC 2922 (Admin) a constable cannot be acting in the execution of their duty when unlawfully on private property. Thus, if the officer is not acting under the authority of a warrant, acting under a statutory or common law power of entry, or in hot pursuit, the person lawfully in possession of land is entitled to withdraw permission for the officer to remain. Should the officer refuse to leave, the officer will cease to be "acting in the execution of their duty". To make an effective withdrawal of permission, clear words must be used. Merely directing offensive remarks at the officer which amount to 'go away' will not necessarily withdraw any implied permission to enter or remain. Further, when properly required to leave, the officer must be allowed a reasonable opportunity to leave. However, once the opportunity to leave voluntarily has passed, it will not be an assault for the land owner to use reasonable force to cause the officer to leave.
For the purposes of section 89 of the Police Act 1996, any person who is carrying out surveillance in England and Wales under section 76A of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 is to be treated as if he were acting as a constable in the execution of his duty.
The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (c.23) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, regulating the powers of public bodies to carry out surveillance and investigation, and covering the interception of communications. It was ostensibly introduced to take account of technological change such as the growth of the Internet and strong encryption.
Section 90 of the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 provides that it is an offence for a person to, amongst other things, assault a constable in the execution of his duty or a person assisting a constable in the execution of his duty.
Section 66(1) of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 1998 (c.32) now provides that it is an offence for a person to, amongst other things, assault a constable in the execution of his duty, or a person assisting a constable in the execution of his duty.
The offence of 'assault on a constable in the execution of his duty' was formerly created section 7(1)(a) of the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act (Northern Ireland) 1968.
In Hong Kong this can be a summary offence, and also prosecutable under the Police Force Ordinance or the Offences Against the Person Ordinance.
In many legal jurisdictions related to English common law, affray is a public order offence consisting of the fighting of one or more persons in a public place to the terror of ordinary people. Depending on their actions, and the laws of the prevailing jurisdiction, those engaged in an affray may also render themselves liable to prosecution for assault, unlawful assembly, or riot; if so, it is for one of these offences that they are usually charged.
A citizen's arrest is an arrest made by a person who is not acting as a sworn law-enforcement official. In common law jurisdictions, the practice dates back to medieval England and the English common law, in which sheriffs encouraged ordinary citizens to help apprehend law breakers.
Battery is a criminal offense involving the unlawful physical acting upon a threat, distinct from assault which is the act of creating apprehension of such contact.
Capital murder was a statutory offence of aggravated murder in Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which was later adopted as a legal provision to define certain forms of aggravated murder in the United States. In some parts of the U.S., this term can define certain acts of aggravated murder: a capital murder is any murder that makes the perpetrator eligible for the death penalty.
Common assault was an offence under the common law of England, and has been held now to be a statutory offence in England and Wales. It is committed by a person who causes another person to apprehend the immediate use of unlawful violence by the defendant. It was thought to include battery but it does not. In England and Wales, the penalty and mode of trial for this offence is now provided section 39 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988, and it has been held that the offence should be alleged as contrary to the statute because of this. It was also held that common assault and battery are two distinct offences, so that a charge that the accused "assaulted and battered" another person would be bad for duplicity.
Fixed penalty notices (FPNs) were introduced in Britain in the 1950s to deal with minor parking offences. Originally used by police and traffic wardens, their use has extended to other public officials and authorities, as has the range of offences for which they can be used.
The Port of Tilbury Police is a small, specialised police force responsible for policing the Port of Tilbury, owned by the Port of Tilbury London Ltd, a subsidiary of Forth Ports plc. Known before 1992 as the Port of London Authority Police, at over 200 years old, it claims to be the oldest police force in the country. Any serious or major incidents or crimes become the responsibility of the local Home Office police force, Essex Police.
In some countries, resisting arrest is a criminal charge against an individual who has committed, depending on the jurisdiction, at least one of the following acts:
Fear or provocation of violence is a statutory offence in England and Wales created under the Public Order Act 1986.
Intentional harassment, alarm or distress is a statutory offence in England and Wales. It is an aggravated form of the offence of harassment, alarm or distress under section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986.
The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (c.37) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The Act was published on 2 December 1997 and received Royal Assent in July 1998. Its key areas were the introduction of Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, Sex Offender Orders, Parenting Orders, granting local authorities more responsibilities with regards to strategies for reducing crime and disorder, and the introduction of law specific to 'racially aggravated' offences. The Act also abolished rebuttable presumption that a child is doli incapax and formally abolished the death penalty for the last offences carrying it, namely treason and piracy.
An immigration officer is a law enforcement official whose job is to ensure that immigration legislation is enforced. This can cover the rules of entry for visa applicants, foreign nationals or those seeking asylum at the border, detecting and apprehending those that have breached the border and removing them, or pursuing those in breach of immigration and criminal laws.
County Court bailiffs are employees of Her Majesty's Courts & Tribunals Service and are responsible for enforcing orders of the County Court by recovering money owed under County Court judgments. They can seize and sell goods to recover the amount of the debt. They can also serve court documents and effect and supervise the possession of property and the return of goods under hire purchase agreements.
The Official Secrets Act 1920 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.
The Offences against the Person Ordinance (Cap.212) and the Homicide Ordinance (Cap.339) are the main statutes that govern homicide. However, no definition of any type of unlawful homicide is available in the Ordinances. As a result, common law definitions remain largely relevant to Hong Kong.
The powers of the police in England and Wales are defined largely by statute law, with the main sources of power being the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and the Police Act 1996. This article covers the powers of police officers of territorial police forces only, but a police officer in one of the UK's special police forces can utilise extended jurisdiction powers outside of their normal jurisdiction in certain defined situations as set out in statute. In law, police powers are given to constables. All police officers in England and Wales are 'constables' in law whatever their rank. Certain police powers are also available to a limited extent to police community support officers and other non warranted positions such as police civilian investigators or designated detention officers employed by some police forces even though they are not constables.
The Immigration Service Ordinance is Chapter 331 of Hong Kong's Ordinances. It was introduced in 1961 as Cap 30 to create the Immigration Department which was previously under the control of Hong Kong Police Force since the 1940s.
Refusing to assist a police officer, peace officer or other law enforcement officer is an offence in various jurisdictions around the world. Some jurisdictions use the terminology 'refusing to aid a police officer' or 'failure to aid a police officer'.