Is It Time to Call the Police on Your Child? - Abuse, Assault, & Crime (2022)

There are times when your authority as a parent just isn’t enough. There are times that you may need to call the police on your child.

If your child’s behavior has escalated to the point of physical abuse, assault, and destruction of property, or if he is engaging in risky or dangerous behavior outside the home, then getting the policed involved might be the right thing to do.

But calling the police on your own child is a difficult decision to make. And there are several factors that you need to consider before doing so.

“I’m Afraid of My Child”

I’ve heard many parents say to me: “My teenage son is bigger than me. He threatens me physically. I’m afraid of him. What can I do?”

To parents who tell me “I’m afraid of my teen,” I say, I believe you. Our kids can be scary and threatening. They are often bigger than we are. And we are not quite sure what they are capable of doing to us, to others, or to themselves.

I’ve seen too many parents who live as prisoners in their own home—prisoners of a threatening child. These parents are often the victim of their kids’ acting out issues, not the cause of them.

That is why if your threatening child doesn’t respond to your authority, then you may need to bring in another authority, and that’s the police. But should you really call the police on your own child? Aren’t we supposed to protect our kids from getting into trouble?

(By the way, I use the pronoun “his” in this article, but girls can be just as threatening as boys and this article applies equally to both.)

Ask Yourself: When Would the School Call the Police?

Think about your child’s school for a moment. Does the school tolerate assault, punching holes in the wall, or speaking in a verbally abusive way to others? Of course not.

In fact, all the schools I’ve worked with call the police if a student assaults someone, uses drugs, or destroys property.

Schools take action because they understand something that parents can lose sight of—kids make the choice to do these things, and as a result, they should be held accountable.

Calling the Police Holds Your Child Accountable for His Choices

Kids with behavior problems seem to have no self-control, whether it’s managing anger or acting out. In fact, they’ll say and do things to give you the impression that they’re out of control as a way to avoid responsibility.

But remember, everything they say and do is a choice. And it’s important for parents to understand that your child makes his own choices, even when he seems out of control.

When you focus on your child’s choices, you begin to realize that it’s your child, through his bad choices, who is responsible for the police involvement.

Your child made the choice to hit you, take drugs, or destroy your neighbor’s property, and he should be held accountable for his choices. And this may mean answering to the police.

Parents Fear Calling the Police for Many Reasons

Most parents, even those who fear their kids, are uneasy with the idea of calling the police on their kids. And believe me, I understand that. You’re getting the law and the government involved in your home. The parent’s I’ve worked with fear many things about police involvement.

Parents fear that if they call the police that they will lose control of the whole process. They fear that the police and courts will now be in charge.

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Parents fear the social stigma attached to calling the police. What will the neighbors think if they see the police at their house? No one wants that kind of attention in the neighborhood.

Many parents are embarrassed and ashamed of themselves. They think they are bad parents who can’t handle their own kid.

And parents fear that calling the police will harm their long-term relationship with their child. They worry that their child will never forgive them for calling the police.

Believe me, these are all normal and legitimate fears. I’ve heard these fears from many parents.

Calling the Police is a Personal Decision

I want to be very clear here: whether or not to call the police is a very personal decision. It may not be for everyone. And sometimes you just have to trust your gut.

After all, you have to live with this decision. Twenty years from now, your child’s teachers and counselors will be out of his life, but you will still be his parent. And you want to act in a way that you won’t regret later.

Ultimately, it comes down to this: when you fear your child more than you fear calling the police, then it’s probably time to call the police.

This point is reached when you have a child who willfully violates the rules of your household and threatens you, other family members, or your property.

Tell Your Child That You Will Call the Police

If calling the police is a choice you’re ready and willing to make, then you should tell your child your intentions in a clear and direct manner. In a calm moment, when things are going well, you can say:

“The other night you pushed your mother. If that happens again, I’m calling the police.”

Be matter-of-fact and business-like about it. Just let him know what you will do. And mean it.

If you don’t mean it, if you don’t follow through, then your words are empty. It’s just another empty threat. And with each empty threat, your child’s contempt for you grows. And your authority shrinks until your authority is gone and your child is in charge.

Related content: How to Stop Threats and Verbal Abuse

Make a Plan if You’re Considering Calling the Police

It’s important to have a plan in place for exactly the circumstances in which you will call the police. A plan helps you make the decision calmly and reduces the likelihood of things spinning out of control.

Your plan may include contacting the police ahead of time to discuss your child and to let them know that you may call them the next time he is abusive. The following related content is an excellent article by Kim Abraham and Marney Studaker-Cordner, author of The ODD Lifeline, on how to talk to the police about your child.

Related content: How to Talk to the Police When Your Child is Physically Abusive

(Video) Father Arrested For Alleged Child Abuse Outside Chuck E. Cheese

Let’s say you don’t have a plan and you wind up hitting your child in self-defense. You’re the one who will be arrested and penalized. And not only may you wind up in jail, but the courts are going to blame you for all your kid’s previous problems. I’ve seen this happen. So make a plan.

For Which Behavior Should I Call the Police?

Parents who are willing to get the police involved ask me how to know when it’s actually time to call the police? In other words, what specific behaviors would constitute a good reason for calling the police?

Call the police when safety is an issue or when the behavior crosses the line and becomes criminal. This includes when your child is breaking things (significant property damage) or hurting or threatening to hurt others.

For example, if your child grabs a book and throws it across the room, I don’t think you call the police. Hold him accountable with an appropriate consequence, but minor damage is not worth calling the police.

Related content: How to Give Kids Consequences That Work

But if he punches holes in the wall, smashes furniture, or does more serious damage to your home or property, I think you tell him:

“Next time you lose control like that, I’m going to call the police.”

And if he does it again, you follow through. That’s when you make the call.

To put it another way, I think you should consider calling the police when you see a pattern of behavior that’s unsafe and threatening to others.

Make it clear to your child that calling the police is the consequence for his abusive, destructive, or criminal behavior. Make it clear that his choices determine whether or not the police show up. And, if the police are called, then he has the opportunity to learn from that consequence and to make a better choice next time.

Call the Police to Protect Other Members of the Family

You also need to consider the other members of your family. They need to be protected.

Siblings who grow up with a violent, destructive, or explosive brother or sister can be severely traumatized. These siblings don’t know when they’re going to get hit, pushed, or verbally abused next.

I know from personal experience that many siblings of kids who act out—the brothers and sisters of kids who are violent, abusive, or destructive—develop PTSD-like symptoms. Indeed, it is a traumatic environment.

When I hear from parents in this situation, I think of the terms “domestic violence” and “domestic abuse.” Because that’s what it is. Somebody in your home is taking advantage of weakness and physically assaulting family members.

I think that’s when you have to ask yourself, “What do I have to do keep my family safe here? And what am I going to do to help my child learn that he can’t behave this way anymore?”

For me, calling the police is a legitimate part of the solution.

Call the Police For Criminal Behavior

I think you should call the police for criminal behavior. This would include possession and selling of drugs or stolen property. Say to your child:

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“I can’t stop you from using drugs and getting high. But if I find drugs, I’m calling the police. If I find stolen property, I’m calling the police.”

You want your child to know that you’re just not going to sit by and let him throw his life away and that you won’t tolerate criminal behavior in your home.

Won’t My Child End Up With a Permanent Record?

Parents ask me, “Will my child have a record for the rest of his life?” It really depends on where you live and the seriousness of the charges.

But, most states have provisions whereby juvenile records are sealed or expunged when they become adults. There’s no access to it and the public can’t find out about it.

Nevertheless, having a record can affect getting a job, joining the military, or even qualifying for public housing. That’s why I understand that parents don’t want their kid to have a record. That’s one of the reasons this is a hard decision.

So ask yourself, “Is this behavior dangerous enough that it warrants me taking this action? How dangerous is he, really?”

Personally, I’d ratherhave a child learn to be in control of himself and have a juvenile record than be out of control and have no apparent future.

Be aware that many kids blackmail their parents by saying, “If you call the police, I’ll get a record.” Or “They’re going to send me to juvie.” They manipulate their parents this way.

But I think if the abusive, violent, and destructive behavior doesn’t change then your child is going to have much bigger problems than a juvenile record. Make no bones about it, someday he’s going to get an adult record. Out-of-control juvenile behavior becomes adult criminal behavior the day he turns 18. And if he’s already 18 and his behavior is criminal, then maybe he needs a criminal record.

What If My Kid Ends up in Juvenile Detention?

That’s a legitimate fear. I can’t in good conscience tell you that won’t happen, because it does.

But in my 25 years of working with the juvenile justice system, I’ve found that the wheels of justice turn very slowly. If the police come, they might write a report, but they can’t do anything if you don’t want to press charges. And they’ll usually encourage you not to press charges the first or second time you call them.

Look at it this way: nobody wants to take custody of your son or daughter. Nobody wants to take responsibility for your teenager.

But why are you calling the police in the first place? You’re calling them to send your adolescent a strong message that you’re not going to tolerate his behavior and that you’re not helpless.

And if the behavior continues, the parents should press charges—especially if a parent or another sibling gets hurt. Understand that virtually nobody goes to jail on their first charge. It just doesn’t happen that way. The state doesn’t want to take care of him so they’re going to try all kinds of non-institutional remedies first. They may even set you and your child up with counseling.

What If I Call the Police and the Behavior Continues?

If the abusive, destructive, or criminal behavior continues, the main thing that you want is for your child to be held accountable on another level.

One way the courts do that is by putting your child on probation. Having a probation officer adds another dimension of accountability. Once on probation, if your child punches a hole in the wall, not only do you tell him to stop, but you call his probation officer. When your teen meets with him, the probation officer says, “Your mom told me you punched a hole in the wall. I thought we said you were going to work on that. I thought you promised me you weren’t going to do that anymore.” Think of the probation officer as another level of authority for you.

I’ve seen probation officers and judges work out plans for kids who are aggressive and violent. They’ll put them in juvenile detention for a weekend or two. It can be very effective. They don’t send the child away forever.

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After his time is up, they bring him back to court and say, “So what do you think? You think you can stop hurting people?” If the kid smarts off, they send him back for another weekend. They’re trying to teach him to be accountable.

Ideally, a counselor or therapist says to your child:

“I’ve noticed that you’re not punching any holes in the walls in here. That’s because we’re holding you accountable and you know we won’t tolerate your disrespect or abuse.You’re making different choices about how you treat people and property. You can punch a wall here, but you’re choosing not to. Now let’s figure out how you can make those same choices at home.”

That’s how coping skills are developed by professionals. These punishments and consequences are all designed to teach your child to make different choices—choices that are healthier and safer.

Expect Your Child to be Angry If You Call the Police

Expect your child to be angry if you call the police. He’ll say, “You stabbed me in the back.” He’s going to feel a sense of betrayal. He’ll play the victim.

Don’t waver. This is just what abusive people do when you stand up to them. I think when things are going well, you want to say:

“If you make different choices, we never have to call the police again. But if you assault somebody, if you break people’s stuff, if you bring drugs into the house, if we feel intimidated by you, or if I’m afraid somebody’s going to get hurt, I’m calling the police. And I just want you to know that.”

What your child will learn to say is, “So what, they won’t do anything anyway.”

But then just say:

“That may be, but I’m still going to keep calling them.”

By continuing to call the police, you are adding to the paper trail on your child. You need that paper trail as evidence that your child is out of control. The police may not do anything the next time, but they will eventually as long as you have that paper trail.

By continuing to call the police you are also showing your child that you mean what you say.

Conclusion

I understand that it’s just very difficult to raise a child with serious behavior problems. It’s a terrible situation for parents.

But it’s important for parents to remember that these kids make their own choices. Even when they seem overwhelmed by feelings, they’re making conscious choices—but that’s not what they want you to believe.

They want you to believe that they become overwhelmed by anger and so they really can’t control themselves, even if they want to. I think that’s an out-and-out lie. Don’t believe it.

Your child makes choices all the time, and I think one way or another they need to be held accountable for those choices. If they are not held accountable now, then they will be held accountable when they become adults. And the older they get, the more severe the consequences. So, the sooner they are held accountable, the better. And that may mean involving the police.

Related Content:
When Kids Get Violent: “There’s No Excuse for Abuse”
Kids Who are Verbally Abusive: The Creation of a Defiant Child

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FAQs

When should police be called? ›

Contacting the police

This should be used if: - There is a danger to life or • - Risk of serious injury or • - A serious crime is in progress or about to happen. Any member of staff witnessing such an incident should be empowered to dial 999 as they will be able to give the most accurate account of the incident.

Should I report my son to the police? ›

There are times that you may need to call the police on your child. If your child's behavior has escalated to the point of physical abuse, assault, and destruction of property, or if he is engaging in risky or dangerous behavior outside the home, then getting the policed involved might be the right thing to do.

How do police help with safeguarding? ›

The police can place a child under police protection for up to 72 hours if they have a good reason to believe that the child is suffering harm or at risk of significant harm.

Can I call the police if my child refuses to come home UK? ›

If your child leaves home without permission, he is technically a runaway. Parental guidance for this behavior includes the following: Call the police. - This sends the message to teenagers that it is not okay to leave home without permission.

What happens when you call the police? ›

The Police will ask for your details and about what has happened. They'll ask if you are safe, and give you some advice. They might send a car around to help sort out the situation. Depending on if anyone is hurt / or if there's property damage, they might ask you if you want to press charges.

Can police check your phone? ›

The police (or other authorities) will generally need a warrant to search your device without your consent (except in certain exceptional circumstances). If police unlawfully search your mobile phone, any evidence recovered can potentially be suppressed, meaning it cannot be used as part of any prosecution against you.

Can you report a child for assault? ›

visit a police station to speak to an officer in person. contact the NSPCC to speak to a professional practitioner. contact the children's social care team at your local council. contact Crimestoppers confidentially and anonymously.

What are the rights of parents when abuse is suspected? ›

Parents rights when harm/abuse is suspected:

For allegations, parents/carers have the right to know what is being said and contribute their own thoughts and feelings. If child is suffering significant harm then parents/carers will have no rights.

Can police help children's behaviour? ›

Police Don't Provide Treatment

Your child may have a behavior disorder, a mental health condition, or might simply need a different approach to discipline. Unless it's an emergency, speak with your child's pediatrician and request a referral to a therapist.

What role do police have in safeguarding children? ›

The police have a central role in protecting children, preventing and investigating crime. Dedicated child- protection officers receive specialist training in investigating child-abuse cases, but all frontline officers have a crucial role to play in identifying and protecting children.

What happens in a child safeguarding investigation? ›

The enquiry will involve an assessment of the child's needs and the ability of those caring for the child to meet them. The aim is to decide whether any action should be taken to safeguard the child. The child's parents/carers will be interviewed, as well as the child (unless the child is too young).

When can police remove a child? ›

A Police Constable has the legal right to remove a child from accommodation or prevent removal, where they have reasonable cause to believe the child would otherwise be likely to suffer significant harm.

Can the police enforce a child arrangement order? ›

There must be a failure to keep the Child Arrangements

If your ex-partner has failed to follow the Child Arrangements order you can make an application for enforcement.

Who pays for supervised contact? ›

In some cases the person that referred you to a centre will pay for the cost of you being there. In other cases a court order might outline who is to pay for the cost of using a child contact centre. Sometimes, one parent will cover the entire cost of this.

Can you call the police if a child refuses to go to school? ›

You can call the police if your child refuses to go to school. If they are in a public place, the police can take them back to school. However, if your child is at home, the police can just talk to your child and encourage them to go to school.

What happens if you call the police too much? ›

To repeatedly call 911 in California for non-emergency reasons can lead to fines as high as $200 per call.

Do I have to answer police questions? ›

If you're a suspect, you're still not required to answer questions, but the police are likely to ask for your name or address. If you refuse to answer, you may be arrested. This is because the police are allowed to arrest a suspect if they believe it is “necessary” for the investigation.

How do police prioritize calls? ›

Calls for police service are prioritized based on the severity of the crime, available units, and volume of calls. "Priority one" is the highest priority and officers respond with "lights & sirens" in an effort to arrive quickly.

Can police read your text messages? ›

Authorities can get access to unopened email messages from the last 180 days, but they must get a warrant, first. The police may obtain your opened and unopened messages that are 180 days old or older with a subpoena.

Can police read text messages that have been deleted? ›

So, can police recover deleted pictures, texts, and files from a phone? The answer is yes—by using special tools, they can find data that hasn't been overwritten yet. However, by using encryption methods, you can ensure your data is kept private, even after deletion.

How far back can police track text messages? ›

4) Text messages

Text messages are treated like emails, according to the ECPA. That means, under this crucial and controversial law, officers must obtain a warrant from a judge for content stored by a service provider (like Verizon or AT&T) that is less than 180 days old, but not for content that's 180 days or older.

How soon would you report any concerns about abuse? ›

8.4 Timeliness & risk

An evaluation of the risk of harm to the adult must take place on the same day as the concern is identified. Adult safeguarding concerns should be reported to the Adult Helpdesk without delay. The indicative timescale for reporting the concern is within the same working day.

What age can a child be done for assault? ›

Minimum age of criminal responsibility is 12.

How long do social services take to investigate? ›

Investigations usually take about six months. The process may take longer depending on the availability of relevant information, or if an investigation is put on hold.

What is a Sarah's Law? ›

The child sex offender disclosure scheme, sometimes called 'Sarah's Law', allows parents, carers or guardians to formally ask the police for information about a person who has contact with their child, or a child close to them, if they're concerned the person may pose a risk.

Why should abuse be reported? ›

You might be scared or worried you won't be believed. But if you don't share your concerns, you risk a child being in danger and continuing being abused. By reporting it, you're taking the first step to helping keep them safe and getting the support they need. Every child and young person deserves to be safe.

What actions should be taken if there are concerns about harm abuse and neglect? ›

If a professional has concerns about the adult's welfare and believes they are suffering or likely to suffer abuse or neglect, they should share the information with the local authority, and the police if they believe or suspect that a crime has been committed.

Are police involved in all safeguarding investigations? ›

The police will take primacy of the criminal investigation and the Local Authority are the lead on safeguarding procedures however this is a shared responsibility, and should police attend an incident first, they will then have to address safeguarding initially.

Should you always call the police if you are worried about the welfare of a child? ›

If a child is in immediate danger, you should always call the police on 999. Anyone who is concerned about a child's safety or wellbeing can contact us.

Will the police call your parents? ›

Generally, no, they do not. Given that you were just issued a warning, and not even a ticket, it is highly unlikely that the police would call your parents.

Can a child be charged with assault in the UK? ›

Children between 10 and 17 can be arrested and taken to court if they commit a crime. They are treated differently from adults and are: dealt with by youth courts. given different sentences.

Who is responsible for child protection? ›

Whilst local authorities, through their children's social care teams, play the lead role in safeguarding children and protecting them from harm, everyone who comes into contact with children and families has a role to play in protecting them. Children includes everyone under the age of 18.

How do you record safeguarding concern? ›

Recording should be impartial. So write down what you see and not what you feel. Whenever a concern is raised, consider the available evidence, and whether you need to gather any additional evidence. You should retain any physical evidence to keep it safe from tampering.

How long do safeguarding investigations take? ›

That depends on how complicated it is, how many people are involved and how quickly people give us information. We try to finish an investigation within 14 weeks.

What are the stages of child protection? ›

Each professional within the conference will give their view on whether they consider that the child should be put on a children protection plan.
...
Child Protection:
  • Neglect.
  • Physical harm.
  • Emotional harm.
  • Sexual harm.
1 Feb 2021

What do social services look for when they come to your house? ›

Social workers assess physical aspects of the home environment. 2. This scale may appear judgmental, but workers necessarily make judgements about the safety, order and cleanliness of the place in which the child lives. The use of a list helps the objectivity of observation.

Should I report my son to the police? ›

There are times that you may need to call the police on your child. If your child's behavior has escalated to the point of physical abuse, assault, and destruction of property, or if he is engaging in risky or dangerous behavior outside the home, then getting the policed involved might be the right thing to do.

What is a Section 20 in child protection? ›

Section 20 agreements allow the local authority to remove a child and place them in foster care without the need for a court order. Whether or not to enter into a section 20 agreement is a voluntary decision made by the parents with the local authority.

What is Section 17 of the Children's Act? ›

Section 17 of the Act places a general duty on all local authorities to 'safeguard and promote the welfare of children within their area who are in need. ' Basically, a 'child in need' is a child who needs additional support from the local authority to meet their potential.

Does a child arrangement order remove parental responsibility? ›

With a Child Arrangements Order parental responsibility is again shared.

How long does a court order take to come through? ›

To reach a final decision the proceedings can take around 26 weeks, sometimes longer (with the agreement of the presiding Judge).

What happens if you ignore a child arrangement order? ›

Breaching the Child Arrangements Order is also deemed to be contempt of Court and can be punishable by way of financial penalty or imprisonment! The Court will always take into account the welfare of the child who is the subject of the Order when making any enforcement Order.

How long is supervised contact for? ›

What is the difference between supported contact and supervised contact?
Supported contact
Length of serviceShort term – can range from a few sessions to around six months. In exceptional circumstances this may be up to 12 months.
5 more rows

Do you have to pay for contact center? ›

Most contact centres offer a free service but some do charge a fee particularly those who offer supervised sessions. It is always sensible to speak to your contact centre to clarify if there will be a charge for the use of the centre.

How much does supervised contact cost UK? ›

Supported Contact: There is no further charge for supported contact. Supervised Contact where a report is needed: is charged at £45 for the first hour and £35 for any subsequent hours taken on the same day.

When should police be called? ›

Contacting the police

This should be used if: - There is a danger to life or • - Risk of serious injury or • - A serious crime is in progress or about to happen. Any member of staff witnessing such an incident should be empowered to dial 999 as they will be able to give the most accurate account of the incident.

When can police remove a child? ›

A Police Constable has the legal right to remove a child from accommodation or prevent removal, where they have reasonable cause to believe the child would otherwise be likely to suffer significant harm.

When should I call the police for teens? ›

Violent behavior.

If your teen, who might very well be bigger and stronger than you, is punching walls, threatening violence, and/or shoving or hitting anyone, it is likely worth a phone call to the police. If you are afraid for your safety or for the safety of someone else in your home, you should call the police.

Why should we call the police? ›

Look for Signs of a Crime

Obviously, there are times when calling the police is the best solution especially if there are weapons involved or if you witness a crime like a robbery, an assault, or another type of criminal behavior. Even seeing someone being threatened by another person is a reason to contact the police.

Should I call the police if someone threatens me? ›

Speak out or record the threat if it is safe to do so. Call 911 if the victim of the threat is in immediate danger. Talk to the victim.

What is Section 50 police Reform Act? ›

Answer for Section 50 Police Reform Act 2002 (1)

is guilty of an offence. Any person who is arrested for failing to provide their true name and address may be arrested under the standard arrest provisions of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.

Do you have to tell police your name? ›

5. You DO NOT have to give your name and address unless the officer points out an offence he / she suspects you have committed. However, not providing your details may lead to you being detained for longer.

What are valid reasons to call 911? ›

Any crime in progress (robbery, burglary, prowler, fights, etc.) Any type of fire (structure, vehicle, brush, etc.) A vehicle collision, especially if someone is injured • When you or the person you care for feels at risk.

What should you call 911 for? ›

911 is to be used for emergencies only.

An emergency is any serious medical problem (chest pain, seizure, bleeding), any type of fire (business, car, building), any life-threatening situation (fights, person with weapons, etc.) or to report crimes in progress.

Are police officers professionals? ›

Police officers, after all, are the source of safety for the general public. They are the professionals who respond to local threats and emergencies. They help to keep criminals off the streets, and work to protect citizens and their communities from harm.

What do you do when another parent threatens your child? ›

Contact local law enforcement, report the threat and get information on obtaining a restraining order. This process varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction but usually involves going to a courthouse to file a claim for the order; a judge will then review your claim as soon as possible.

What is legally considered a threat? ›

A threat is any words, written messages or actions that threaten bodily harm, death, damage to real or personal property, or any injury or death to any animal belonging to that person. A threat can include those that are conditional on the person doing something or failing to do something.

Can I report threats to the police? ›

Call 999 or the police anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321 to report an immediate terrorist threat. You can also report a possible terrorist threat online. Calls to 999, 101 or 0800 numbers are free.

What is a Section 60 order? ›

As you will be aware, a Section 60 is a power given by a Chief Officer (or in urgent circumstances an Inspector or above) which allows police officers to stop and search anyone in a specific area, without needing to have reasonable grounds.

What is a Section 59 warning notice? ›

These powers allow an officer to seize and remove a vehicle, which he or she believes is being driven inconsiderately or carelessly and causing, or is likely to cause, alarm, distress or annoyance to members of the public.

What does Section 5 of the Public Order Act? ›

5Harassment, alarm or distress.

(b)displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting, within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby.

How long do the police have to investigate a crime? ›

There is no general time limit for how long a police investigation can stay open in England and Wales. For summary only offences, which are heard in the Magistrates' Court, the case must be heard within twelve months of the crime.

How many days do you have to show police documents? ›

How long do you have to produce them at a police station? Explanation: You must be able to show your documents to a police officer when asked to do so. If you don't have them with you, you're allowed to produce them at a police station within seven days.

What information do I have to give police? ›

If the police think you are a witness to a crime, they should tell you this. If asked to do so, you must give your name, address, date and place of birth and nationality to the officer.

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