Arrest for repeated failure to attend court

28 August 2019

Not reviewed after the date of publication

Question:

If a person has a history of repeatedly failing to attend court, can this be used to justify their arrest?

Answer:

As per section 24 of PACE, the power of arrest can only be used if the arresting officer has reasonable grounds for believing it is necessary to arrest the person. The reasons why an arrest may be deemed necessary are set out in PACE, Code of Practice G, paragraph 2.9. Paragraph 2.9(f) states:

'When it is practicable to tell a person why their arrest is necessary (as required by paragraphs 2.2, 3.3 and Note 3), the constable should outline the facts, information and other circumstances which provide the grounds for believing that their arrest is necessary and which the officer considers satisfy one or more of the statutory criteria in sub-paragraphs (a) to (f), namely:

.....

(f) to prevent any prosecution for the offence from being hindered by the disappearance of the person in question.

This may arise when it is thought that:

if the person is not arrested they are unlikely to attend court if they are prosecuted;

the address given is not a satisfactory address for service of a summons or a written charge and requisition to appear at court because the person will not be at it for a sufficiently long period for the summons or charge and requisition to be served and no other person at that specified address will accept service on their behalf.'

Any evidence or intelligence can be used to form your decision, as long as you can justify why you have grounds to believe the arrest is necessary; we are not aware of any reason why you cannot take the person's previous record into consideration when making your decision, if it is relevant.

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