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But I Wasn’t “Obstructing” The Police!


Obstructing Police is one of those charges that can appear from nowhere. One minute you are helping a drunk friend in the street and the next, the Police are handing you a notice to appear with a court date glaring at you.

Time and time again we hear our clients say, “But all I did was tell the Police that my friend was fine and they didn’t need to speak to her.” Unfortunately, that’s enough!

Under the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000, it states, “A person must not assault or obstruct a Police Officer in the performance of the officer’s duties”. The definition of “obstruct” includes hinder, resist and attempt to obstruct. Yes you read correctly, even attempting to obstruct is sufficient to be charged.

In my vast experience, I can assure you that “officer’s duties” can include just about anything! As long as the officer can justify why he/she was performing that “duty” and the “duty” was remotely related to his/her work, you must do as they say. Quite often Police will warn you several times in the hope that you understand the importance of their request before charging you, but they aren’t required to provide numerous warnings.

Despite whether you believe what you are doing is considered obstructing or not, when you hear the words, “If you don’t ………… you will be arrested and charged with obstructing Police” Please listen!

Image Credit – Beaucroft © 123RF.com

Written by John Sutton on May 18, 2018

John is partner of Armstrong Legal and head of the Criminal Law Division. The experience John possesses, being a high quality mix of defence and prosecution skills, together with his team at Armstrong Legal, mean you can be certain of accurate, dependable and practical advice on how your matter can dealt with. View John's profile


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