• September 28th, 2020

Word On The Block - by the Namibian Police: Understanding arrest and arrested person (Part 1)

Arrest constitutes one of the most drastic infringements of the rights of an individual. In terms of Article 11(1) of the Constitution, no person shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention. 

The rules that have been laid down by the Constitution, the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act No. 51 of 1977) and other legislation concerning the circumstances when a person may be arrested and how such person should be treated must, therefore, be strictly adhered to. 

As a general rule, the object of an arrest is to secure the attendance of such a person at his or her trial. Therefore, a police member may not arrest a person to punish, scare or harass such person. 
There are circumstances where the law permits the police to arrest a person, namely as follows:
Arrest for the purpose of further investigation: If a police officer has a reasonable suspicion that a person is guilty of a First Schedule offence (serious crime) and the detention of the suspect is necessary to complete further investigation of such a case. 

A police officer may arrest a person if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the investigation will be hampered should the person not be arrested. 

A police officer may arrest when he/she has reasonable grounds to believe that the suspect will abscond, do away with an article required as an exhibit, interfere with a witness or otherwise endeavour to evade or defeat the ends of justice.

An arrest may also be necessitated by the safety of an accused. If a police officer has a reasonable ground to believe the suspect may be attacked or killed in retaliation to the crime they have committed, he/she may, with immediate effect, arrest such an accused person to protect him/her. This would normally be the case when the suspect is threatened by the victim of the offence, family of the victim or a mob of people. Such a person may be detained until he or she is brought before a court and the court will decide whether he or she should be released or detained further.

Moreover, a police officer may arrest a person to stop an offence. If failure to arrest the person will result in the person continuing to commit an offence, such person may be arrested to prevent him or her from continuing to commit an offence. This would, for instance, be the case where a person trespasses on a property and refuses to leave such property. 

*Part 2 will feature next week.

Staff Reporter
2020-02-26 07:24:17 | 7 months ago

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