- Tell the potential criminal that you are putting him or her under citizen's arrest. It must be clear and they must fully understand you. It should also be clear that this is directed at him or her.
- Explain to the potential criminal why you are making a citizen's arrest. It is necessary to give the criminal "probable cause" as mentioned above. If you cannot provide him or her with this information, then you cannot make the arrest.
- Apprehend the suspect. Attempt to make the "arrest" with as little force as possible, as using excess force can result in charges against you. When you get a hold of the suspect, do not attempt to handcuff or tie them to anything.
- How much force is too much? There is no set rule, and laws for this vary by state and country. The amount of force you use should be a reasonable response to how the suspect is acting. For example, if he is running it is considered reasonable to pull him to the ground. It is not considered reasonable to hit him once he is on the ground. Lethal force is never appropriate unless it is in self-defense. In the case that you might have to use more force than you feel comfortable with, wait for the police to arrive.
- Call the authorities. Do not attempt to transport a suspect on your own, this can result in false imprisonment charges. Instead call the police immediately and wait with the suspect for the cops to arrive.
- Explain in full detail what you witnessed. You will be asked to give a statement. Make sure to include everything that you witnessed and did during the criminal act and the "citizen's arrest." Include and be clear about any force you had to use to arrest the suspect. It is important to have that information on the record as soon as possible.
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.... Making the Arrest