If a police officer approaches you asking for your name reply “am I under arrest officer?” If the officer replies “no “then state the case RICE v CONNOLLY 1966, turn and walk away.
Now if the police officer prevents you from walking away by using any force or physical contact, without cautioning you first, the law states you can use reasonable force as self-defence see Collins v Wilcock 1984.
Collins v Wilcock 1984 QUEEN’S BENCH DIVISION
A police woman took hold of a woman’s arm to stop her walking off when she was questioning her. The woman scratched the police woman and was charged with assaulting a police officer in the course of her duty.
The police woman’s actions amounted to a battery. The defendant’s action was therefore in self-defence and her conviction was quashed.
Goff LJ stated that implied consent existed where there was jostling in crowded places, handshakes, back slapping, tapping to gain attention provided no more force was used than is reasonably necessary in the circumstances. There was no consent given for the grabbing of the arm.
RICE v CONNOLLY 1966 QUEEN’S BENCH DIVISION
The appellant was seen by police officers in the early hours of the morning behaving suspiciously in an area where on the same night breaking offences had taken place. On being questioned he refused to say where he was going or where he had come from. He refused to give his full name and address, though he did give a name and the name of a road, which were not untrue. He refused to accompany the police to a police box for identification purposes, saying, “If you want me, you will have to arrest me”. He was arrested and charged with wilfully obstructing the police contrary to s. 51 (3) * of the Act of 1964. On appeal it was conceded that “wilfully” imported something done without lawful excuse.
LORD GODDARD, C.J.
It is quite clear that the appellant was making it more difficult for the police to carry out their duties, and that the police at the time and throughout were acting in accordance with their duties. The only remaining element of the alleged offence, and the one on which in my judgment this case depends, is whether the obstructing of which the appellant was guilty was a wilful obstruction. “Wilful” in this context in my judgment means not only “intentional” but also connotes something which is done without lawful excuse, and that indeed is conceded by counsel who appears for the prosecution in this case. Accordingly, the sole question here is whether the appellant had a lawful excuse for refusing to answer the questions put to him. In my judgment he had. It seems to me quite clear that though every citizen has a moral duty or, if you like, a social duty to assist the police, there is no legal duty to that effect, and indeed the whole basis of the common law is that right of the individual to refuse to answer questions put to him by persons in authority, and a refusal to accompany those in authority to any particular place, short, of course, of arrest. Counsel for the respondent has pointed out that it is undoubtedly an obstruction, and has been so held, for a person questioned by the police to tell a “cock-and-bull” story, to put the police off by giving them false information, and I think he would say: well, what is the real distinction, it is very little away from giving false information to giving no information at all; if that does in fact make it more difficult for the police to carry out their duties then there is a wilful obstruction. In my judgment there is all the difference in the world between deliberately telling a false story, something which on no view a citizen has a right to do, and preserving silence or refusing to answer, and something which he has every right to do. Accordingly, in my judgment, looked on in that perfectly general way, it was not shown that there fusel of the appellant to answer the questions or to accompany the police officer in the first instance to the police box was an obstruction without lawful excuse.