When a Police officer can arrest a person?

When a Police officer can arrest a person?

The criminal trial starts when the police arrest the person or the persons in jail. The person who has been arrested by the police will no more free to leave or move without the permission of police officers. The investigation officer of the case took the accused with him in the court of justice within 24 hours of arrest. Although there are conditions where the police officer can arrest the person without any warrant signed by the magistrate, there are some conditions where the police officer cannot arrest the person without a warrant. In this article, we will learn about that when a police officer can arrest a person without a warrant and what are the laws related to arrest.

When a Police officer can arrest a person?

There are various grounds on which a police officer can arrest a person. If these conditions are being fulfilled at the time, the police officer has the right to arrest the person. So, let’s discuss the grounds of arrest:

The police officer personally observes the crime:

If a person did a crime in front of a police officer, that police officer has the right to arrest that person without any warrant.

Read Also: Summons| Definition and Substituted service of summons

For example, a police officer sees a person committing a robbery in the bank, the police officer can arrest that person at the spot without any warrant.

If the police officer has Probable cause:

If the police officer has the reason to believe based on circumstance or any fact that a person has committed the offence or he is about to commit the crime, is called probable cause, the case, the police officer can arrest that person to commit further offence or to stop him.

For example, the police officer sees a gang in front of the bank who are hiding their faces and loaded with guns and moving in the bank, the police have the reason to believe that there may be the apprehension of theft because the head of that bank is already stated in the police station that the gang of thieves is threatening to rob the same bank.

Reason complain regarding the cognizable offence

The police officer can arrest the person without the warrant of the court when the police officer found any reasonable complaint or information that the person has done the cognizable offence which is punishable with imprisonment.

Proclaimed offender

The police officer can arrest the person who is a proclaimed offender by the code or by the state government.

Stolen property in the possession

The police officer can arrest the person whose possession of anything is found which may reasonably be suspected as the stolen property of the person or anything.

A deserter of armed forces

The [police officer] can arrest the person who is reasonable causes the suspect to deserter the army of Union.   

A reasonable complaint has been made:

The [police officer] can also arrest the person against whom the reasonable complaint has been made or any credible information has been received or has a reasonable suspicion that the person has committed the offence where the arrest is necessary

  1. To prevent the accused from committing further offense,
  2. For the investigation of the said case,
  3. To prevent the accused from tampering or disappear the evidence of the offence,
  4. For the prevention of the accused to threat the witness of the case,
  5. For the attendance of the person in the court.

A Warrant has been issued:

A warrant is a legal order of the court for the arrest of a specific person. The arrest warrant can be issued by the magistrate or judge of the court. An arrest becomes a lawful act when an office has obtained a warrant by the court to arrest the person.

Ingredients of warrant

  • A warrant identifies the crime committed
  • It identifies the individual who is suspected of committing the crime
  • It specifies the location of the person where he may be found
  • Permits the police officer to take the person into custody.

It must be kept in mind that there are varieties of warrants.

Cognizable and Non-Cognizable offences

Any act which is punishable under the law is an offence. Actus Reus and mens rea or the necessary elements of a crime. Any act without guilty intention is not liable under criminal law. The intention and motive are both different elements.

The offences can be divided into two types:

  • Cognizable
  • Non Cognizable

Cognizable offence

The offence where the police are authorized to take the direct cognizance of the crime on its own is known as the cognizable offence. The police have the power to arrest the person without a warrant. In the case of a cognizable offence, the accused arrested by the police will be produced before the magistrate, 24 hours from the arrest. These crimes are normally non-bailable. The FIR (first information report) can be file only in cognizable cases. These offences are severe such as; rape, murder, rioting, dowry death, etc.

Non-Cognizable Offences

The offence where the police are not authorized to take the cognizance of the crime on its own is known as a Non-Cognizable offence. The police must have the warrant issued by the court to arrest the person. The police neither can arrest the person who did the Non-Cognizable offence nor can start the investigation in that case without the warrant. These crimes are listed in the first schedule of the IPC and are available. It means the person can apply for regular bail. The FIR is not lodged in the non-cognizable offence. The person can only lodge a criminal complaint. After that, the magistrate will order the police to start the investigation.

Examples, cheating, forgery, assault, etc.

Difference between Cognizable and Non-Cognizable offences

S.NO. Cognizable Non-Cognizable
1 Police can take cognizance without a warrant. Police cannot take cognizance without a warrant.
2 There is no need to take prior approval from the court. There must be prior approval of the court to start the investigation.
3 It covers heinous crimes. It covers comparatively less heinous crimes.
4 FIR is lodged in the crime. A criminal complaint is lodged in the crime.
5 The punishment is more than three years. The punishment is less than three years.
6 The offences are non-bailable. The offences are bailable.
7 Murder, Rape, Rioting, etc. Assault, Forgery, Defamation, etc.


I conclude my article with my word that the [police officer] cannot arrest the person in the case where the person has committed the non-cognizable offence or against whom the complaint has been made or the credible information is not received except with the warrant of the court.

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