Basic Rights On Police Arrest
It is common to see the police officers stop and arrest someone through setting up roadblocks or just at the streets in Malaysia. Sometimes, the police vehicle even cuts in front of someone’s vehicle while driving and signal him/her to stop at the roadside for inspection.
This article serves to address our rights in these situations.
Right to Question the Police Authority
For whatever reasons, when you are being stopped by the police in his uniform, chances are he is indeed a police. You would then want to take note of his name and police identification number appears on his uniform.
However, if the police were not in his uniform, the rule of thumb is always to politely ask to have a look at his police authority card and take note as follows:-
(a) if the color of the authority card is either BLUE, YELLOW and WHITE, yes, they are indeed police, the color varies merely due to their ranking.
(b) if the color of the authority card is RED, that means the police officer had been suspended and he has no authority at all.
If it is the RED scenario, you may just walk away.
Rights After Police Arrest
Should you asked the police whether you are under arrest and he said ‘yes’; or you were not allowed to leave or even handcuffed by the police, then you are indeed ‘under arrest’ and shall be brought to the police station.
At this juncture, you need to query the followings:-
(a) Why are you under arrest? This is important because you cannot be arrested just because you are a potential witness of a case.
(b) Which police station will you be brought to? The police must only take you to the police station and no other places.
The reason for this is so that you may then exercise your right to contact a relative and a lawyer to inform them accordingly. Do not afraid to make such a request for the presence of a lawyer.
During questioning, you should cooperate and give your full name, age, address and occupation to the police. You have the right to remain silent to the rest of the question until your lawyer’s presence unless such delay may cause danger others.
Rights During Detention
The police can only detain you at the police station for up to 24 hours for purpose of assisting the investigation.
If the police cannot complete the investigation within 24 hours, the police must bring you before the Magistrate for a remand order. A remand order is a court order to detain someone for a period exceeding 24 hours but that said period shall not be more than 14 days in total.
In conclusion, always stay calm and know your fundamental right to the liberty of movement if you were being stopped and arrested, detained or even questioned by the police. Grab any opportunity to lodge a complaint or make police report should you encounter any malpractices of the police in the midst of carrying out their duties.
(This article is written by Chia Swee Yik, Partner of this Firm (+60 12-8282 198, email@example.com) who has provided advice on non-contentious criminal procedures. Feel free to contact him if you have any queries.)