Media Commentator Caroline Farrow Arrest
Daniel Klein / Kevan James
October 13, 2022.
Catholic media commentator and mother of five, Caroline Farrow, had Surrey Police come into her house without a warrant and arrest her over a gender Twitter spat following online transgender controversies, reported by GB News (and subsequently other news outlets).
Speaking to GB News’ Mark Steyn, Ms Farrow said, “I have been arrested for what was a twitter spat about gender issues”.
This comes in light of Suella Braverman's Tory Party conference speech in which she stated: "We need to get back to common sense policing, empowering the police to tackle the issues facing the public, not policing pronouns on Twitter or non crime... hate incidents".
Caroline Farrow was making dinner for her husband and four of her children when two police officers knocked on her door claiming she had been accused of harassment and malicious communications. The police then asked if they could come into her house and Ms Farrow asked, “do you have a warrant?”
One of the officers then “put his hand on the front door to stop me from closing it, walked into my house and said ‘we don’t need one’” Ms Farrow explained.
Her children, aged 7, 10, 11 and 12, who were present at the scene watched as the police then said to her “we’re going to arrest you” before demanding all electronic devices for confiscation.
Her husband, a catholic priest, had a parish office next door which contained some of her devices. The couple protested that the officers would need a warrant to enter the parish office. When the police asked why, Caroline’s husband said “because we don’t trust you”.
Caroline claims Surrey Police then called their sergeant for permission, and it was granted shortly after. Ms Farrow’s daughter who is autistic uses one of the confiscated devices for her home schooling.
Ms Farrow was taken outside her house and the police conducted a body-search before taking her to the police station where she was held in a cell for several hours.
“One minute I was making dinner for my kids and then next I was having my socks checked for drugs”
“This took up an entire shift – what an absolute waste of police’s time”
“I was then shown other material that police were accusing me of sending. None of them were my doing.”
Ms Farrow was released in the early hours of this Tuesday morning under investigation without charges or bail.
Image - GB News
Surrey Police said in a statement:
On Monday, 3 October officers attended an address in the Guildford area as part of an investigation into allegations of malicious communications (sending of indecent, grossly offensive messages, threats, or information) and harassment.
A 48-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of both offences.
A number of electronic devices were seized as potential evidence from this address under section 19 of PACE. Where an offence is alleged to have been committed on an electronic device, for example, it may hold a key piece of evidence and may routinely be seized during an investigation.
The woman was taken to Guildford Police Station where she was interviewed. She has now been released under investigation and inquiries remain ongoing.
Temporary Detective Chief Inspector David Bentley said: “There is significant commentary on social media around the perceived circumstances behind this investigation. We do not have the freedom of detailing every stage of our inquiries or the specifics of an allegation on social media as it is critical we do not pre-empt or prejudice any future proceedings at any stage.
“When we receive an allegation of a crime, in this instance one where a grossly offensive message is said to have been communicated, it is our job to assess it alongside any available evidence to identify if an offence has been committed. If it has, we gather further evidence and carry out an investigation to prove or disprove the allegation. That is exactly the process that is being followed in this case.
“The investigation into these allegations is very much ongoing and the relevant inquiries are being carried out. We have a duty to protect the integrity of an investigation, so we will not be providing a running commentary on this case.”
© Daniel Klein / GB News 2022
Header Image - John K Thorne
There has been, rather understandably, something of a furore over this case, with social media commentators outraged. One has to ask however, what people are outraged about. Is it only the arrest of Ms. Farrow? That the arrest took place at all or that it was at her home? Or that all her internet-connectable devices were seized and without a search warrant?
It is that last point that many people on Twitter for example, seemed most upset about (along with 'hurty' words). And most people are completely unaware that the Police, in Surrey and elsewhere, do not in fact, need a warrant to enter one's home and seize whatever they want.
You didn't know that, did you?
Well, they don't. What counts here is the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, also known as PACE.
The questions over whether or not the police should be investigating what people say via the internet is also somewhat irrelevant. What matters is that under the law, sending a 'malicious communication' is a criminal offence and the police must therefore investigate if a complaint is made to them - which it was.
Under the provisions of PACE, all the police have to do is arrest someone and PACE then allows them to 'search the place where the suspect last was' and seize anything from that place they think may be or contain evidence of crime or of a crime being commissioned.
And if you are arrested at home, then your home may be searched and your property seized. So since Ms. Farrow was arrested at her home, Surrey Police thus acted correctly and within the law.
Is PACE good law? Is the Malicious Communications Act good law? Were the police right to arrest Caroline Farrow? And if COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is that home working (and home schooling) is here to stay; can the police justifiably take away essential items needed for both? The police must investigate the possibility of a crime being committed - but is how they investigate the right way of doing so?
Those are different questions altogether - and so is the question over whether or not the police misuse PACE...
© Kevan James 2022.