Under the Police Act 1996, it is both an offence to assault a constable or to resist/ wilfully obstruct them in the execution of their duty.

In some cases, you might simply argue that no assault, resistance, or obstruction had taken place. We would then robustly challenge that officer at trial on your behalf.

Where there is an issue about them acting in the ‘execution of duty’, we can help to examine the evidence and circumstances of your arrest.

Generally speaking, a police constable must take all steps which appear to him/her necessary for keeping the peace, for preventing crime, or for protecting property. However, they must act in accordance with their duties and powers as set out by the law. For example, ‘reasonable force’ can used to stop and search, to seize items, to enter premises (with and without search warrants) or to effect an arrest. Where the officer uses excessive force, then it may be arguable that an offence of assault or obstruct has not been committed.

In a situation where an officer restrains someone, but does not at that time intend or purport to arrest them, the officer is acting outside their execution of duty, and any resistance (within reason) should not be considered unlawful.

It may also amount to a defence, where a person struggles while being detained by someone they genuinely do not believe to be a police officer. This is known as ‘mistake of fact’.

We realise it can be daunting to challenge a police officer where you do not agree with what they say, either in a statement or before the court, but we have extensive experience of dealing with disputed police evidence, and will ensure you have the opportunity to tell your side of the story.

%d bloggers like this: