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Training role-play #12 - Should I get arrested?

Should I get arrested? (20-40minutes)

Print sections on Impact of criminal record and Police powers and your rights then handout.

In small groups or in pairs ask participants to discuss their fears and concerns about the possibility of getting arrested and charged.

Facilitate discussion:

  • Some activists choose to disobey or break a law as an act of civil disobedience: the deliberate, open and peaceful violation of particular laws, regulations or instructions which are believed to be morally objectionable or unreasonable.
  • Other activists go to great lengths to avoid arrest or see arrest as an unfortunate consequence of taking part in an action. Arrest can effectively remove you from the action, make you vulnerable to police abuse, and tie you up for months in court action.
  • Whatever your views on getting arrested, before participating in any political action that involves the risk of arrest, two questions are worth considering.
  • Will getting arrested at this action help to achieve the campaign's strategic aims?
  • And are you willing and able to withstand the personal consequences of arrest and possible charges and convictions that may result? This question can only be answered by reference to your own conscience. And this may require considerable deliberation on the consequences and impacts.
  • Also highlight the length of the process: if you plead not guilty, your trial and appeals could last for years (literally!) many people plead guilty just to save themselves the hassle.