Jarrett v Chief Constable of West Midlands Police: CA 14 Feb 2003

The claimant sought damages for false imprisonment and assault after her wrongful arrest. She had waived her handbag at an officer investigating a disturbance and been arrested. The police said the arrest was lawful, she being suspected of common assault.
Held: The judge was entitled to take the view that, taking the evidence at its highest, there were no proper grounds established for arrest in relation to a breach of the peace or apprehended breach of the peace. However, the suspicion in the offer’s mind of an offence of assault remained and the arrest was lawful: ‘ … agitation or excitement, including hysterical waving of a handbag … in front of a police officer interviewing a member of the public in the street did not constitute a breach of the peace to justify a lawful arrest.’


Lord Justice Potter, Lord Justice Chadwick, Mrs Justice Black


[2003] EWCA Civ 397, Gazette 10-Apr-2003, Times 28-Feb-2003




Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 25


England and Wales


CitedRegina v Howell (Errol) CACD 1981
The court considered the meaning of the legal concept of a breach of the peace.
Held: The essence is to be found in violence or threatened violence. ‘We entertain no doubt that a constable has a power of arrest where there is reasonable . .
CitedO’Hara v Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary HL 21-Nov-1996
Second Hand Knowledge Supports Resaobnable Belief
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 . .
CitedParker v Chief Constable of the Hampshire Constabulary CA 25-Jun-1999
The claimant sought damages after his arrest by armed police. The defendant appealed a substantial award of damages.
Held: The section required the officer to have reasonable grounds for suspecting the arrestees to be guilty of the offence. . .
CitedRegina v Burstow, Regina v Ireland HL 24-Jul-1997
The defendant was accused of assault occasioning actual bodily harm when he had made silent phone calls which were taken as threatening.
Held: An assault might consist of the making of a silent telephone call in circumstances where it causes . .
CitedHussein v Choung Fook Kam HL 1970
When making an arrest, the standard of proof required of the officer is suspicion and no more. It falls well short of prima facie proof. Suspicion should not be elided with guilt, or even prima facie proof of guilt. It ‘is a state of conjecture or . .
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) . .

Cited by:

CitedWragg, Regina (on the Application Of) v Director of Public Prosecutions Admn 15-Jun-2005
The court faced a case stated where the defendant had been accused of resisting arrest. The officers claimed to have anticipated a breach of the peace, having been called to a domestic dispute.
Held: Though the defendant had not behaved with . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Police, Torts – Other

Updated: 07 June 2022; Ref: scu.181127