This is an extremely complicated field of law, and the following is merely a starting point.
According to the law: Anyone can arrest someone who is doing an indictable criminal act or who he/she reasonably suspects is committing one. if an arrest by a constable is not reasonably practicable and there are reasonable grounds to believe that the arrest is essential for one of the following reasons:
To keep the individual in question from:
inflicting bodily harm to himself or others
receiving bodily harm
causing property loss or damage
or fleeing before a constable may assume responsibility
There are a few things to consider regarding the preceding paragraph.
What is the definition of an indictable offence?
An indictable crime is one that can be prosecuted in Crown Court. Theft, burglary, criminal damage are all examples of indictable offences that are most likely to be encountered by the general public
How do I know if I have the authority to make a citizen's arrest?
You can make an arrest if the suspect is committing the crime or if you have reasonable grounds to suspect them of doing so, or if the crime has already been committed and you have reasonable grounds to suspect them of doing it.
When making a citizens arrest, there is no precise language to recite. However, you must tell the person you're arresting what you're d
oing, why you're doing it, and what crime you suspect they've committed as soon as reasonably possible.
When making an arrest, you should contact the police in the first instance, if possible, and only intervene if absolutely required. Never put yourself or others in danger to make a citizen's arrest just call 999.
Remember only to use reasonable force, here is a government website link on self defence and the prevention of crime: https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal-guidance/self-defence-and-prevention-crime If you incorrectly make a citizens arrest or are overzealous in your approach their is a potential for civil litigation - the courts can be sympathetic to public spirited citizens and the exercise of their powers and rights, however, if you get it wrong you could be sued for unlawful arrest and/or false imprisonment.
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An citizens arrest being made on Bond Street London by security officers.