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Arrest to be on grounds of public protection only

Comment 13th August 2010

Until the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1974 (PACE) arrest was permitted only to protect socirty in some way, usually to prevent absconsion or harm to others. PACE allowed codes to be made by civil servants, away from Parliamentary scrutiny, and now arrest is a bureaucratic concept permitting the taking and recording of DNA samples etc.  People who attend a police station voluntarily are often arrested.

However, the public perception of arrest is still that it shows serious grounds for restraining a probable criminal, and carries a stigma. Some countries, such as the USA, may refuse you a visa if you have ever been arrested.

 

Why does this matter?

There is no justification for changing a world-wide concept into a local excuse for recording people's details on a computer.  In George Orwell's Animal Farm and 1984, the powers-that -be  abused traditional language. The Gestapo sent Jews to concentration camps on orders for personal protection. Humpty Dumpty told  Alice that words mean what you want them to mean. None of these is regarded generally as socially desirable, and neither should the PACE version of arrest.

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