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Law Enforcement System

In law enforcement systems, arrest is one of the main steps, taken in the process of seeking justice in case a certain crime has occurred. This, however, does not mean a lot for the people, since it exists in two basic forms.

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An arrest is apprehension of a person, often accompanied by denial of some rights. The liberty of a person is limited by arrest resulting in the person being put in custody. Arrest occurs, if there is some substantial evidence that the person purportedly committed the alleged crime on the specific day or place that is being suspected.

An arrest comes in two basic forms. In the first form, a person may be arrested with an arrest warrant. This is after a person has been issued with a notice prior to appear in a court of law or present him or herself to the police station but fails to turn up (Schwartz, 2007).

In the second form, a person is arrested without a warrant. This is mostly done when a person, often the offender or a prime suspect is found at the scene of crime or in possession of some physical evidence to have been present at the time the crime was committed. This means that a person with the closest connection to a crime is always the first suspect, and faces the highest chances or arrest without a warrant.

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However, regardless of the basis of arrest, an arrestee is supposed to be accorded two basic rights. One of these rights is to know the reason of arrest as soon as possible, and the second is to know that he/she is under arrest and has the right to remain silent. These two rights are often globally offered to the arrestees (Partridge, 2004).

Another similar in approach but different in implementation is investigatory stop. An investigatory stop entails a law enforcing agency or person or a police officer, taking into detention a person, who has certain aspect that makes the officer to be suspicious of the person engaging in criminal activities. The person is taken into custody by the officer, who then frisks or searches the person on basis of the facts that makes the officer suspicious of the person. This results in the person having to undergo frisk or search without necessarily being given the reason for the search. The stop may involve some interrogation for the officer to confirm or dispel his/her suspicions on the person (Partridge, 2004).


Looking at the two, there are several clear cut differences, which include:

  • An arrest is made after enough evidence linking the arrestee and the crime has been established. Looking at investigatory stop, it is based on suspicion of the officer in the behavior of a person, and may involve search or frisk.
  • An arrest usually comes with evidence such that the law enforcers have enough powers in their hands to put the person under custody, while an investigatory stop comes with only suspicion leaving law enforcers to carry out some investigations only, to ascertain their suspicions before they can make an arrest.
  • An arrest directly leads to prosecution or any other legal procedure, due to the substantial evidence, while an investigatory stop results in investigations.

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