Transcript
 

(HO45/6647)

(i) INSTRUCTIONS respecting the DUTIES and POWERS of CON-
STABLES, prepared for the Guidance of CONSTABLES appointed
under the Act of 2 and 3 VICT.c.93.

(side note in right margin accompanying paragraph below): Directions for
Constables. Power
to arrest.


THE Constable may arrest one whom he has just cause to suspect to be about to
commit a felony. Thus, when a drunken person or a man in a violent passion,
threatens the life of another, the Constable should interfere and arrest.

He should arrest any person having in his possession any picklock-key, crow,
jack, bit, or other implement with intent feloniously to break into any dwelling-
house, warehouse, coach-house, stable or out-building, or any person armed with
any gun, pistol, hanger, cutlass, bludgeon, or offensive weapon, or having upon
him any instrument, with intent to commit any felonious act.

Every person found in any dwelling-house, warehouse, coach-house, out-house,
or stable, or in any inclosed yard, garden, or area, and being there for any
unlawful purpose, may be arrested.

In each of these cases the Constable must judge from the situation and behaviour
of the party what his intention is. In some cases no doubt can exist, as when the
party is a notorious thief, or acting with those who are thieves, or when the party
is seen to try people's pockets in a crowd, or to attempt to break into a house, or
to endeavour to take any property secretly from another. The Constable will not
act hastily, in case the intention is not clear, but content himself with watching
closely the suspected party, that he may discover his design.


(ii) Though no charge be made, yet if the Constable suspect a person to have
Committed a felony, he should arrest him, and if he have reasonable grounds for

his suspicion, he will be justified, even though it should afterwards appear that
no felony was in fact committed ; but the Constable must be cautious in thus
acting upon his own suspicions.

Generally, if the arrest was made discreetly and fairly, in pursuit of an offender,
and not from any private malice or ill will, the Constable need not doubt that the
law will protect him.

(iii) (side note in left margin accompanying paragraph below): Power to require
persons to aid and
assist.

If a Constable finds his exertions insufficient to effect the arrest, he ought to
require all persons present to assist him, and they are bound to do so.

(iv) After arrest the Constable is, in all cases, to treat a prisoner properly, and
impose only such constraint upon him as may be necessary for his safe custody.

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(v) (side note in left margin accompanying paragraph below): Power to apprehend
Prostitutes,
Vagrants, and
Disorderly Persons.

The Constable has power to apprehend and carry before a Justice of the Peace
every common prostitute wandering in the public streets, public highways, or in
any place of public resort, behaving in a riotous or indecent manner ; every
person wandering abroad, or placing himself or herself in any public street or
highway, court or passage, to beg or gather alms, or causing, or procuring, or encouraging any child so to do, all such being declared by the law to be idle and
disorderly persons ; every person wandering abroad and lodging in any barn or
out-house, or in any deserted or unoccupied building, or in the open air, or under
a tent, or in any cart or waggon, not having any visible means of subsistence, and
not giving a good account of himself or herself ; every person wandering abroad
and endeavouring, by the exposure of wounds or deformities, to obtain or gather
alms ; every person going about as a gatherer or collector of alms, or endeavour-
ing to procure charitable contributions of any nature or kind under any false or
fraudulent pretence ; every person playing or betting in any street, road, high-
way, or other open or public place, at or with any table or instrument of gaming
at any game or pretended game of chance.

In the cases above mentioned the Constable has by law power to arrest.