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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77698 Find in a Library
Title: Police Powers in England - Report of the Royal Commission on Criminal Procedure
Journal: American Bar Association Journal  Volume:67  Dated:(June 1981)  Pages:732-735
Author(s): M Zander
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 4
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines recommendations regarding reform of criminal procedure laws in England, as developed by the 1980 English Royal Commission on Criminal Procedure.
Abstract: Commission recommendations are based on findings presented in 12 separate research reports focusing on police station procedures and the prosecution process in general. The commission recommended that the right of silence for accused persons brought to police stations be maintained and strengthened by the addition of a written caution to this effect. It also recommended abandonment of the common law rule that a statment obtained as a result of a threat or promise made by a person in authority is inadmissible because it is not voluntary. The commission's proposal is that statements should be made automatically inadmissible if made after violence, the threat of violence, or inhumane or degrading treatment. The commission rejected the American exclusionary rule on the double jeopardy ground that there was little evidence that it inhibited malpractice by the police. Tape recording of suspect interviews was considered, but the commission concluded that it would not be economically feasible. In addition, laws applicable to stop and search, detention for questioning, and arrest were reviewed. Searches in the street would be restricted to superficial examination under the commission's proposals. The commission concluded that the present definition of arrestable offenses as those carrying a 5-year prison sentence was too narrow. It was recommended that the use of arrest should be restricted to cases of necessity: to ascertain the identity of the suspect, to prevent an offense, to protect a suspect or other person or property, or to assure the accused's attendance at court. The commission's recommendations received a mixed reception. They received a favorable response from the police and the bar, but the civil libertarians' endorsement was not complete.
Index Term(s): Arrest and apprehension; Commission reports; Criminal proceedings; England; Interview and interrogation; Law reform; Police effectiveness; Police legal limitations; Rights of the accused
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