Know your rights when being arrested - CCU head

November 10, 2017
Stephanie Lindsay

Head of the Corporate Communications Unit of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), Superintendent Stephanie Lindsay is encouraging Jamaicans to know their rights and the correct protocol for arrest under the law.

Lindsay states that the police may carry out an arrest for different reasons, but regardless of the circumstances, the basic rights of the individual should always be observed.

"The police officer will carry out an arrest in three main ways ... on view, which is when you detect an offence taking place ... on information from a third party, that is, when someone comes to the police station and makes a report. There is an investigation, and (an) arrest is made based on the information provided. We also conduct arrest on warrant," she said.

Under Section 15 of the Constabulary Force Act, it is lawful for any constable, without warrant, to apprehend any person found committing any offence punishable upon indictment or summary conviction, and to take him before a Justice to enquire into the circumstance of the alleged offence.

The law also provides for the persons to be committed to the nearest jail, prison or lock-up to be dealt with, or to grant the person bail in accordance with the Bail Act.

Lindsay states that in a normal arrest procedure, the officer identifies himself or herself to the individual and informs the person of the offence for which he or she is being arrested and charged. The officer then restrains and cautions the individual.

The 'caution' notifies the offender of his/her rights during the process, particularly the right to remain silent, as anything said will be taken down in writing and used as evidence in court.

Following the caution, the police should then escort the detainee to the station. Here, it is determined whether the person is eligible to be granted bail at the station level, or is to be remanded in custody for the matter to be brought before a magistrate to grant or deny the bail application.

Lindsay also advises persons to carry proper identification (driver's licence, passport, voter's ID) when going to the station.

On the advice of their attorney, civil action can be taken against the police and the Government to prove that the individual's rights were violated.

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