They're coming for you
You're walking through the street one fine evening, eager to get home after a long day's work and just simply unwind. But, as you reach your doorsteps, you see two policemen waiting for you.
One of them approaches you, asks you to lean against the wall with your hands behind your back.
Oh no! It's fast becoming a nightmare. Your body feels weak and your mind starts going haywire..
How do I know that they're arresting me?
Let’s look at the law:
Section 15(1) Criminal Procedure Code (“CPC): an arrest may be made in the following manner: - (a) by actually touching the body of the person to be arrested; or(b) by actually confining the body of the person to be arrested; or(c) where there is submission to custody by word or action.
Common law arrest: A police officer states that he is arresting OR uses force to refrain the individual concerned OR when he makes it clear that he will, if necessary, use force to prevent the individual from going where he may want to go.
You find yourself being handcuffed and told that you’re under arrest.
So, what now? Don’t panic, keep calm and follow these steps:
1. Don’t even think of resisting arrest!
The police have the right to use reasonable force to arrest you if you try to resist (Section 15(2) CPC)).
So, PLEASE don’t make life hard on yourself.
2. Ask the reason for your arrest
Just say “Why am I arrested?” If they don't tell you the reason, the arrest is unlawful (Section 28A(1) CPC).
3. Ask about which station they are taking you to
The arresting officer must take you immediately to the nearest police station.
He can't take you anywhere else, even for a brief stopover at a coffeeshop or McDonald's to pick up food to bring to the station!
4. Make that phone call
You have the right to phone a relative or friend, and also a lawyer (Section 28A CPC). You are also entitled to call a Legal Aid Centre (LAC).
Tell the person you’re calling that you have been arrested, the place, the time and why you are arrested. Don’t forget to mention which police station you’ll be taken to.
5. Once you’re arrested
You can be detained for up to 24 hours at the police station, or be put in a lock-up to assist police investigation.
Remember, follow these steps and please avoid making an already bad situation much worse!