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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
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Police execrised stop and account, I refused to give my name

Customer Question

Police execrised stop and account, I refused to give my name etc, they said they would arrest me if I didn't, no question of my having committed a criminal offence, they were concerned for my welfare. Were they right?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi.

Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.

Is there any reason you refused to give your name?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

My understanding is that I am not obliged to give my details in this situation, I had not committed an offence of any kind...I was in Tesco had lost my partner so was hanging around the store...Tesco staff became concerned and contacted the police...I assured them that I was fine but did not wish to give them any further information about myself


 

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Its not that simple I'm afraid.

Obviously they had a right to stop you as a complaint had been made.

Whether or not they had grounds to arrest is another matter. I think there must have been some allegation made by the store giving rise to 'reasonable grounds for suspicion' - bearing in mind that that really only means the barest suspicion.

If they had reasonable grounds to suspect some offence then the provisions in ss 5 here

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1984/60/section/24

come into play which do cover their 'concern for your welfare'

there are also provisions under the Mental Health Act but thats very unlikely to apply here.

The problem fundamentally is that they cannot just accept your word for the fact that you are fine. They have to conduct checks upon that information. In fairness, I'm not sure how demanding your name really assists them to do that but I suppose they could argue that they needed it to run PNC checks to see if you had any history giving rise to concern.

There is also an offence of obstructing a police officer in the execution of his duty but I don't think that would apply here. Unless there was power to demand your name from you the officer is not acting in the execution of his duty.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69775
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

According to Tesco no complaint had been made, they were concerned for my well being...Tesco at no point had any conversation with me to ask about my well being. I am a 62 year old female never been in any trouble at all. Tesco apparently phoned police to see if there was any missing person that might fit my description...there was not. Police said we'll pop over and have a chat with her. The chat, when I gave minimal information culminated in my being threatened with arrest unless I gave them my details. It's also worth noting that The officers at no point gave me their details...name number etc

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
They can't arrest you just for refusing details alone.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

So I was refusing to give my details I was not suspected of committing nor intending to commit an offence, they were apparently concerned for my welfare although I was assuring them I was fine, no drink/drugs/ polite/respectful etc,,,,in these circumstances were they right to say they had no alternative but to arrest me if I did not give them my details?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Obviously I haven't heard their account for this.

However, they do need suspicion of offence to rely on concern for your welfare and refusing to give your details without suspicion of an offence is not arrestable in the UK.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

So they cannot arrest or threaten to arrest me on grounds of concern for my welfare and refusing to give details..is that correct?


As there was no offence nor any suspicion at all that I might commit and offence do I take it that I potentially have grounds to express dissatisfaction or make a complaint?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Obviously I haven't heard their account for this and without that I could not say for certainty that they have acted improperly.

However, I have explained the law above and it does seem to give rise to a complaint on the facts you have provided.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Are they not obliged to give me their name number station?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

And finally if, given that what I have said "seems to give rise to a complaint" what would be the grounds of that complaint please?


many thanks for your assistance so far

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
They are under an obligation to give you their name and rank.

The complaint is really the one I explained above - that they seem to have made a threat with no power to act. You could also complain about the refusal to hand over their details although they will deny that.

Its not the worst complaint but its a ground.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I have now made an official complaint against the police and have requested Tesco to supply me with CCTV footage and staff statements. I am persuing this not just for me but due to a wider concern that there may be a police culture in my area that they have the ability to make threats without the power to act and to force someone to stay with them if s/he is stopped to account for actions.


The officers concerned and their line manager sergeant are away until 26/6; the line manager sergeant will be contacting me then (although I have given details of my complaint to a colleague sergeant of his. I have also arranged an appointment with my AM (welsh Assembly Member).


Do you have further advice on this bearing in mind that their defence will be concern for welfare?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
What else would you like to know about this?

Im happy to continue with this but please remember to leave feedback for my answer.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Feedback left for you "excellent service".


Basically ant essential dos and donts in following this through?


Any additional advice?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the positive rating.

There's no real science behind making complaints. Just set out as much relevant detail as you can.

The reader will want to understand what exactly is complained of and why it offends rather than anything else.

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