We hear the term ‘arrest’ every now and then, due to the increasing crime in society. The primary difference between detention and arrest lies in the fact that whether the accused/suspected is charged with a crime or not. This is because when the person is just detained, he/she is held in police custody, based on reasonable suspicion, so as to question him/her.
However, when the person is arrested, he/she is charged with a crime and needs to be presented before the court in 24 hours. In general, the primary reason for someone’s arrest is that the person has done something which is against law and order.
This post will make you understand the basic difference between detention and arrest.
Content: Detention Vs Arrest
|Basis for Comparison||Detention||Arrest|
|Meaning||Detention refers to the act of keeping someone in official custody, to question them in relation to a specific matter or crime.||The arrest is when police take away a person who has been charged with a crime, to investigate, thus removing his/her freedom.|
|Requires||Only reasonable suspicion is needed to keep the suspect.||Strong evidence is needed to make an arrest.|
|Offence||Less severe||Comparatively more severe|
|Results in||Arrest, only if relevant pieces of evidence are gathered||Imprisonment or fine or both, if convicted|
|Criminal Record||Does not indicated on the criminal record.||Indicated on criminal record.|
|Duration||Generally for a short period of time.||Can be held in custody until bail is granted or a case is presented before the court.|
|Search Opportunities||Less||Comparatively more|
Definition of Detention
Detention is a temporary custody period before the trial or hearing, followed by arrest or the decision of the judge or any other legal authority.
Detention of a person takes place when the officer in charge believes that he/she has broken some law, but does not have sufficient proof or evidence to warrant arrest. Hence, it is based on suspicion that the detainee is personally involved in criminal activity and it should be in accordance with the law.
Further, it does not mean a legal arrest, rather it is simply withholding, restraining or interrogating someone, in connection with the alleged offence.
Also, it can only be practised in the public interest in relation to the prevention of a crime and maintaining law and order in society.
Additionally, on the basis of the seriousness of the offence, the police can keep a person in custody for 24 hours, but further detention needs to be authorized by the judiciary.
Purpose of Detention
- To ensure that the detainee does not cause harm or pose a threat to society.
Who is Detainee?
The person who is detained, i.e. who is deprived of personal liberty and not convicted of the crime, is known as a detainee.
Definition of Arrest
Arrest implies the apprehension of someone, by the police for alleged commission of a crime, which results in deprivation of his/her liberty in accordance with the law. So, the arrester controls the liberty of the arrested person.
Further, the arrested person can be released on bail, only when the offence is bailable.
Policeman undertaking the arrest is required to prepare a ‘Memo of Arrest‘ which states the date and time of arrest and is duly signed by the arrested person along with any of his relative or friend or any person from the locality who is respectable.
It must be noted that:
- Special protection is there for women, who are being arrested, such as only woman officer can search them and that too in a decent manner, considering her privacy.
- The female suspect is to be kept in a separate lock-up and not with male suspects. And in the absence of any separate lockup for women, they have to be transferred to the nearest police station that has separate women’s lock-up.
The arrest of a person takes place when probable cause has been found out against the suspect by the police. Officers may also seek permission to investigate and search or they must possess a warrant to do the same.
Purpose of Arrest
- To produce the accused before the nearest magistrate, within 24 hours from the time he/she is arrested. Although, the time does not takes into account the time taken in travelling to reach the magistrate, and
- To stop a crime from happening or to stop the suspect from escaping from the law.
- To enable the investigation in connection with the offence, committed by the person.
Also Read: Difference Between Bail and Bond
Key Differences Between Detention and Arrest
So far we have developed an understanding of the meaning of the two terms, now we are going to talk about the difference between detention and arrest:
- Detention is when a person is kept under police custody in connection to a crime, so as to interrogate him/her and get the facts. On the other hand, arrest refers to an act in which police apprehends a person for the alleged commission of a crime by him/her.
- To detain a person only reasonable suspicion is required to keep the suspect. As against, to make an arrest a piece of strong evidence, or valid proof is required.
- Detention is exercised when the offence is less severe, but when the seriousness of the crime is more, arrest of the suspects is preferred.
- In case of detention when the relevant pieces of evidence are gathered against the detainee, it results in an arrest, or he/she is released when no evidence is found against him/her. Conversely, if the arrested person is proven guilty of the crime, it may lead to imprisonment or fine or both, as decided by the magistrate.
- Detention of a person does not show up on the criminal record, whereas when a person is arrested, it may be shown up on the criminal record of the police.
- Detention is temporary in nature, and so a person is detained for a short period only, after which they have to let go or arrested, depending on the evidence collected. In contrast, in case of arrest, the person can be held in custody until bail is granted or the case is presented before the court.
- In case of detention, the search opportunities are less in comparison to arrest, in which the police is empowered to search, the arrested person.
|Cops detain Mr A on a suspicion that he smuggles opium.||The arrest of a person for drinking and driving.|
|Police stopping a person, whose behavior is suspicious, in connection with bank robbery.||Police arrested a person who is convicted of hit and run.|
Arrest without Warrant
In general, to make an arrest the police officer is required to show a warrant. Come let us first understand its meaning.
What is a Warrant?
A warrant is a legal document, signed by the magistrate, which is to be brought and shown by the police officer, to the person before making an arrest.
Also Read: Difference Between Summon and Warrant
However, there are eight different types of cases in which a person can be arrested even without a warrant. These are:
- A person carrying or keeping instruments, which are used for the purpose of housebreaking like rods, glass cutter etc. when he/she is not able to explain the reason for carrying such tools.
- Someone stealing the property
- When a police officer is deliberately prevented by someone to carry out his duty.
- Someone already in police custody, attempting to run away or actually ran away.
- Cognizable offence (rape, murder, dacoity, etc.) committed by a person.
- Court declared someone as guilty, but that he/she does not give himself/herself to the police. Then the police can find and arrest him.
- Person customarily used to go in and out of the jail and his name appears in the police record, as a habitual offender, and are generally arrested without the need of warrant when there is tension in the respective city.
- Someone who seems deserted from armed forces can also be arrested without a warrant, by the police.
In a nutshell, to hold someone for detention, only reasonable suspicion is required by the police, whereas to legally arrest someone, the police officers must have probable cause.