Q508: Can you tell me about a citizens arrest?

A private citizen has certain common law powers of arrest, but they must be exercised with care as wrongful arrest can result in a claim for damages.

The crime must be a serious one and not merely a breach of the peace, and he must be certain that an offence has been committed by, for example, witnessing it or being the victim.

Reasonable force may be used if the arrested person resists and he must be handed over to the police as soon as possible.

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