Assault on a police constable (assault PC)

The following Corporate Crime practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Assault on a police constable (assault PC)
  • The offence of assault PC or assault on a person assisting a constable
  • Elements of the offences of assault PC (or assault on a person assisting a constable)
  • Meaning of constable
  • Assisting a constable in the execution of their duty
  • Meaning of 'assault'
  • Acting in the execution of duty
  • Statutory powers of the police
  • Common law powers
  • Unlawful conduct
  • More...

Assault on a police constable (assault PC)

The offence of assault PC or assault on a person assisting a constable

Assault on a constable (assault PC) or on a person assisting a constable are both offences which are triable only in the magistrates' court.

Elements of the offences of assault PC (or assault on a person assisting a constable)

The elements of the offences are set out in section 89 of the Police Act 1996 (PA 1996).

The prosecution must prove:

  1. an assault

  2. on a constable

  3. who was acting in the execution of their duty

  4. at the time of the assault

or:

  1. an assault

  2. on a person assisting a constable

  3. who was acting in the execution of their duty

  4. at the time of the assault

Meaning of constable

For the purposes of an offence under PA 1996, s 89, it must be established that the victim was a constable.

Every police officer in England and Wales holds the office of constable following Lewis v Cattle.

A constable is also deemed to include:

  1. any person who is carrying out surveillance in England and Wales under section 76A of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2000 (foreign surveillance operations) by virtue of the Crime (International Co-operation) Act 2003 (C(IC)Act 2003)

  2. any member of a police force maintained in Scotland or Northern Ireland when they are executing a warrant or otherwise acting in England or Wales

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