Hayes v Merseyside Police: CA 29 Jul 2011

The claimant had been arrested after a complaint of harassment. The officer then contacted the complainant who then withdrew his complaint. The officer went to visit the complainant to discuss it further. On his return the claimant was released from custody. He now sought damages, saying that the officer had not considered alternatives to arrest, and that he should have concluded that the claimant had been co-operative and that an arrest was unnecessary.
Held: The claimant’s appeal failed. The correct test was in two stages. The officer must have reasonable grounds for suspecting that an arrestable offence had been committed and that the suspect was responsible. Second: ‘that he had reasonable grounds for believing that it was necessary to arrest him to allow the prompt and effective investigation of the offence or of the conduct of’ the suspect. The court rejected the suggestion that the officer must also ‘actively consider all possible courses of action alternative to arrest; he must have taken into account all relevant considerations and have excluded all irrelevant ones’, accepting the defendant’s argument that that proposed test ‘is not to be found in the Act, is unnecessary, and would mean that the decision of the constable on the spot, often in difficult circumstances, would have to survive what is in effect a public law reasons challenge.’
The provisions of the Code of Practice were consistent with the approach taken here.
Hughes LJ said: ‘it is not the case that a voluntary attendance is always as effective a form of investigation as interview after arrest. Section 29 of the Act reminds officers of their duty, if inviting voluntary attendance, to tell the suspect that he may leave at any time he chooses. It would not be honest for an officer to invite a person to attend a voluntary interview if he intended to arrest him the moment he elected to leave. Nor would it be effective. It would mean that the suspect could interrupt the questioning the moment it reached a topic he found difficult. Even if it were possible simply then to arrest him, the interview could not continue until all the important formalities of reception into custody, checks on health, notification of friends or relatives and so on had been complied with.’

Ward, Richards, Hughes LJJ
[2011] EWCA Civ 911, [2011] 2 Cr App R 30, [2012] 1 WLR 517
Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 24
England and Wales
CitedDallison v Caffery CACD 1965
It is for the detaining authority to justify all periods of detention.
The court described the common law duty on a prosecutor to disclose material. Lord Denning MR said: ‘The duty of a prosecuting counsel or solicitor, as I have always . .
CitedCastorina v Chief Constable of Surrey CA 10-Jun-1988
Whether an officer had reasonable cause to arrest somebody without a warrant depended upon an objective assessment of the information available to him, and not upon his subjective beliefs. The court had three questions to ask (per Woolf LJ): ‘(a) . .
DistinguishedRichardson v The Chief Constable of West Midlands Police QBD 29-Mar-2011
The claimant, a teacher, said he had been unlawfully arrested and detained after an allegation of assault from a pupil. Having attended the police station voluntarily, he said that the circumstances did not satisfy the required precondition that an . .
CitedShields v Merseyside Police CA 17-Nov-2010
The claimant appealed against rejection of her claim for assault and false imprisonment. The officer arresting her wrongly believed that she had already been arrested, and it was said that he could not have gone through the steps necessary for an . .
CitedWilding v Chief Constable of Lancashire CA 22-May-1995
The court considered a claim by a woman for wrongful arrest and unlawful detention by police officers who had reasonably suspected her of burglary of the house of her former partner. In interview by the police, she denied the offence and made . .
CitedAlexander, Farrelly and Others, Re Judicial Review QBNI 5-Mar-2009
Each claimant said that they had been wrongfully arrested, the arresting police officers having either failed to ask whether the arrest was necessary (Farrelly), or mistakenly concluding so.
Held: The Order now contained in regulation . .
CitedO’Hara v Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary HL 21-Nov-1996
The plaintiff had been arrested on the basis of the 1984 Act. The officer had no particular knowledge of the plaintiff’s involvement, relying on a briefing which led to the arrest.
Held: A reasonable suspicion upon which an arrest was founded . .

Cited by:
CitedFitzpatrick and Others v The Commissioner of Police of The Metropolis QBD 11-Jan-2012
The claimants, two solicitors and their employer firm sought damages alleging trespass and malicious procurement by police officers in obtaining and executing search warrants against the firm in 2007 when they were investigating suspected offences . .
CitedLord Hanningfield of Chelmsford v Chief Constable of Essex Police QBD 15-Feb-2013
The claimant sought damages alleging unlawful arrest and search and detention. He had served a term of imprisonment for having made false expenses claims to the House of Lords. This raid occurred on his release. The arrest was planned and made to . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Police, Torts – Other

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.442417