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Police Powers And Responsibilities And The Right And Duties Of The Citizens

POWERS OF POLICE
o Power to arrest of persons suspected of having committed an offence.
o Power to conduct bodily search of persons suspected of having committed an offence. This power can be exercised without warrant.
o Power to search premises. The law requires a warrant to be shown to the owner of the premises before his premises is searched and what to be searched for indicated.
o Power to investigate a crime without interference.
o Power to grant bail to persons suspected of having committed an offence (on bail able offence).
o Power to maintain law and order and use reasonable force to suppress the breakdown of law and order in the society.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE CITIZEN
• To assist the Police in investigation
• To tell the Police the truth
• Not be rude to the Police
• Not to prevent a Police officer from performing his lawful duties
• Not to assault a Police officer or any law enforcement agent
• To report to the Police station whenever required to do so.
• To appear in court on the date specified on the bail bond, failure of which the bail will be revoked and a bench warrant issued for the arrest of the offender.

DUTIES OF POLICE
• A circumstance where a person can be arrested without a warrant of arrest is when seen committing an offence.
• The Police should tell the person arrested the reason for his arrest and / or detention.
• The Police can search premises only with a warrant signed by a superior Police officer or a Magistrate or a Justice of the peace.
• The Police can on reasonable suspicion conduct bodily search on a person without a warrant (the person carrying out the search shall be of the same sex with the person being search).
• The Police shall bring a suspect to court within one day of his arrest where there is a court, which is within 40 kilometers from the place of arrest/detention.
• Where the distance is more than 40 kilometers, the person shall be brought before the court within two days.
• The police have the responsibility to grant bail on simple offences. Such bail is free.
• Nevertheless, the Police may refuse bail, if you have no fixed address or you are charged with a serious crime like Murder and Armed Robbery, in such a case, the person must be charged to court.
• The police can use all reasonable force to arrest you, if you resist. Police have no legal basis to refuse to accept a woman as a surety for a suspect. All persons are equal before the law.

RIGHTS OF CITIZENS
• Right to insist on consulting a lawyer before giving any other information apart from personal data i.e name, address etc.
• Right to refuse to confess to something you have not done.
• Right to write out your statement personally if you are literate.
• Right to have an independent person of your choice to read the statement for you, if you are illiterate, before you thumb print.
• Right to refuse to sign the statement or even make one until you have you have consulted a lawyer.
• Right to ask for Police bail.
• If you are injured in the process of the arrest and detention by the Police, make a report to another Police station supported with medical report obtained from your doctor, and photographs of injuries sustained while in Police custody.
• It is against the law for the Police to physically assault or threaten or torture you.
• It is against the law for the Police to take your personal effects e.g. money, watch, documents without issuing a receipt for them. Insist on a receipt.
• It is against the law for the Police to demand for bribe or an inducement from you. If such occur, memorize or record the name and service number of the officer involved and report the matter immediately after your release to a lawyer or at another Police station or to a human rights organization.
• It is against the law for the Police not to tell you the reason why you are being detained or held in their custody.