Civil Arrest

CBP_Field_Operations_Academy-arrestThere has been a great deal of discussion lately about the public’s power of civil arrest. Some activist groups are promoting it more aggressively than others. We would like to point out that whilst such a power exists, there has also grown up a mass of disinformation about the mechanism. Advice observed on some group pages is a clear recipe to get yourself arrested, Article 61 or not.

We, the people of the UK have the same powers of arrest as any police officer. You do not require a warrant card to arrest someone. The warrant card provides the police with one or two powers that the public do not have but it is outside the scope of this page.

IF you see a crime taking place you have a moral and ethical duty to do something about it – if you do not intervene then you should at least report it. For the avoidance of doubt, the law under which you should be arresting (or reporting) someone is common law:-

  1. Cause no harm or injury to another
  2. Cause no loss to another
  3. Commit no fraud against another
  4. Do not breach the peace

If you are standing under Article 61, statutory law has no effect nor authority so you should NOT be arresting anyone for “offences” under the Road Traffic Act for example!

Civil Arrest

  • NEVER I repeat NEVER touch the person you are arresting if it can be avoided**. Some groups are promoting the ‘technique’ whereupon you place your hand on the shoulder of the person being arrested. To do so is assault and could very well land you a Tort for compensation, as well as an assault charge. Better to try to capture a video of the crime and present this to the police to deal with! **See “Use of force in making an arrest” below. I’ll now qualify the previous statement by saying that if you are helping to drag a thug off a little old lady then there is mitigation but unless there is a clearly evidenced mitigating circumstance, DO NOT touch the person you are arresting!
  • If there is a police officer present at the scene, it MUST be they who makes the arrest. If the police refuse to arrest, they are perverting the course of justice which attracts extremely unpleasant consequences for a police officer. . . Especially in light of the recent Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 (S26).
  • Video EVERYTHING. Take no chances – I mean NONE! It is easy enough to make up something with no other witnesses about – or witnesses who could be viewed as not impartial, most modern phones can take video recordings – never be afraid to use it.

Use of force in making an arrest

Criminal Law Act 1967
Use of force in making arrest, etc.

(1)   A person may use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances in the prevention of crime, or in effecting or assisting in the lawful arrest of offenders or suspected offenders or of persons unlawfully at large.

The above is one of those laws which has been codified from common law – so it is equally applicable to those purists that do not want to use statute law under any circumstances. But – be VERY careful in what you do and make certain you are doing it for the right reason!

When you arrest someone, sooner or later the police must be involved – they will need to take over the charging and prosecution process. We have observed an increasing incidence of police claiming they can de-arrest someone you have arrested. This is a bare-faced-lie and should earn the officer in question a charge of Fraud, misconduct and/or nonfeasance. If you are told by any police that they can or have de-arrested someone, contact that officer’s inspector or above and make a formal complaint. If you are so equipped or inclined, you could lay an information with the local magistrates as the officer has broken one of his own laws!

Conflict with Article 61

It should be pointed out that from a lawful rebellion point of view, the above is mostly void – because you are relying on using the Crown’s system which is void under Article 61. This is one of those instances where you will have to suck it up and live with it under duress. Do not forget that although misprision of felony was removed in the 1960’s from statute law, it remains effective in common law which means that if you do not report a crime you know about, you must be tried for that same crime. If the victim knows you witnessed the crime and did nothing to help, they could easily come after you if so inclined. . .

Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984

117 Power of constable to use reasonable force.

Where any provision of this Act—

(a)  confers a power on a constable; and

(b)  does not provide that the power may only be exercised with the consent of some person, other than a police officer,

the officer may use reasonable force, if necessary, in the exercise of the power.


You need to be VERY careful here. All indications are that you, as the arresting person, could employ the use if handcuffs to restrain a violent offender. We would suggest you view this with some cynicism and avoid this area altogether. Conversely, if the police use handcuffs on you, this could well be an assault – so says ACPO guidance! (ACPO Guidance on Handcuffs, S2.1.2, “every use of handcuffs MUST be justified” and “officer safety is not a justification.”

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