Appeal by case stated against conviction for obstructing a police officer in the execution of his duty. The appellant had been protesting. She, correctly, thought the land to be a rivate highway. The police officer had thought it a public hghway and had acted accordingly under the 1980 Act.
Held: The appeal failed.
The inspector’s request or direction to the appellant to move could not in the circumstances amount to anything which was prima facie an unlawful interference with the appellant’s liberty or property, and any act of wilful obstruction would not only obstruct the highway but also the inspector in the execution of her duty to clear it. Accordingly she could choose which offence to arrest for, and chose both. The issue is whether that plan was reasonable and lawful. There was nothing unlawful about asking the appellant to move and informing her that if she does not she will be committing a criminal offence. Accordingly, it was not necessary for the officer to have had the correct offence in mind at the time the direction to move was given. It was sufficient for the officer to have taken steps which reasonably appeared to her to be necessary for preventing crime. The fact that the officer in fact had an offence of which the appellant was not guilty in mind did not prevent her from taking steps which in the circumstances, as she believed them to be, reasonably appeared to her to be necessary for preventing crime.
Treacy LJ, Edis J
 EWHC 2461 (Admin)
Police Act 1996 89(2), Highways Act 1980 137, Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 68
England and Wales
Cited – Christie v Leachinsky HL 25-Mar-1947
Arrested Person must be told basis of the Arrest
Police officers appealed against a finding of false imprisonment. The plaintiff had been arrested under the 1921 Act, but this provided no power of arrest (which the appellant knew). The officers might lawfully have arrested the plaintiff for the . .
Cited – Hinchcliffe v Sheldon QBD 20-Jan-1955
The appellant was the son of the licensee of an inn. On returning to the inn one night at about 11.17, he found that police officers wished to enter the premises as they suspected that the licensee was committing an offence under the Licensing Act . .
Cited – Regina v Waterfield and Lynn 1963
A police officer does not have an unfettered right to restrict movements on private land.
Ashworth J said: ‘In the judgment of this court it would be difficult . . to reduce within specific limits the general terms in which the duties of . .
Cited – Rice v Connolly 1966
No Legal Duty to Assist a Constable
At common law there is no legal duty to provide the police with information or otherwise to assist them with their inquiries. Lord Parker set out three questions to be answered when asking whether there had been an obstruction of an officer in the . .
Cited – Fox, Campbell and Hartley v The United Kingdom ECHR 30-Aug-1990
The court considered the required basis for a reasonable suspicion to found an arrest without a warrant: ‘The ‘reasonableness’ of the suspicion on which an arrest must be based forms an essential part of the safeguard against arbitrary arrest and . .
Cited – O’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 . .
Cited – Clarke v Chief Constable of North Wales Police Admn 2000
Although the power of arrest without warrant depends on the existence in the mind of the arresting officer of reasonable suspicion of the material elements of an arrestable offence, there is no requirement of law that the constable must have first . .
Cited – Alford v Cambridgeshire Police CA 24-Feb-2009
The claimant police officer had been held after an accident when he was in a high speed pursuit of a vehicle into the neighbouring respondent’s area. The prosecution had been discontinued, and he now appealed against rejection of his claims for . .
Cited – Rawlinson and Hunter Trustee and Others, Regina (on The Application of) v Central Criminal Court and Another Admn 31-Jul-2012
The claimants sought to have search warrants issued under the 1987 Act set aside, saying that they had been procured by non-disclosure and misrepresentation.
Held: The search warrants were set aside: ‘the fact that one or more suspects have . .
Cited – B v Director of Public Prosecutions Admn 3-Jul-2008
The defendant, a minor, appealed against conviction for obstructing a police constable and breach of the peace. He said he was resisting an unlawful search.
Held: The officer’s conduct must be lawful to support such an allegation. . .
Cited – Metcalf v Crown Prosecution Service Admn 22-Apr-2015
Police officers had attended an address following reports of a domestic disturbance between the appellant and another. Both men were arrested. The appellant objected as the other individual was escorted away by the two officers and placed in the . .
Cited – Chapman v Director of Public Prosecutions CA 1989
The section required a constable to have reasonable grounds for suspecting that an arrestable offence had been committed before he could arrest without warrant.
Held: Bingham LJ said: ‘It is not of course to be expected that a police constable . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 03 January 2022; Ref: scu.551474