4

I ask this strictly as research for a work of fiction

A person purposely acts in a manner to attract police attention and arrest as a form of protest. The goal is to inspire an arrest or use of force without giving a true justification (they are prepared to be killed, but only if their killing is unjust).

The act itself is entirely legal and should not cause alarm to a reasonable person, but is designed to make a police officer feel suspicious or endangered should they be hyper-vigilant, and ultimately waste their time.

Would an officer merely being bothered in this way constitute a crime unto itself, thus justifying force or procecution?

It's difficult to think of examples (loitering and breach of peace laws are very broad), but some may include:

  • congregating as a group and quietly but obviously observing police on duty.

  • following a police cruiser from a safe distance for a prolong period of time.

  • prolonged and pointed staring at an officer.

  • exchanging innocuous items in a fashion that might mimic a drug exchange.

  • fleeing from an officer who only notices you at that moment (stopping when commanded)

All commands are obeyed once the officer engages, which is ultimately the goal: to be engaged and should the officer over-react, arrested or attacked, without breaking the law. But is pursuing that goal a crime unto itself?

4

Wasting police time is what your actor sets out to do, and is a crime in many jurisdictions.

New Zealand defines your exact plan as a crime, under section 24 of the Summary Offences Act:

[A person can be penalised if that person]

...

(b) with the intention of causing wasteful deployment, or of diverting deployment, of Police personnel or resources, or being reckless as to that result,

...

(ii) behaves in a manner that is likely to give rise to [serious apprehension for his own safety or the safety of any person or property, as described in part (i)], knowing that such apprehension would be groundless.


Hong Kong similarly makes this a criminal offence, in section 91 of the Criminal Procedure Ordinance:

(2) If a person causes any wasteful employment of the police by knowingly making to any person a false report tending to show that an offence has been committed, or to give rise to apprehension for the safety of any person or property, or tending to show that he has information material to any police inquiry he shall be guilty of an offence [and faces penalties described].


Likely the basis of both of the above, the United Kingdom makes it an offence in section 5 of the Criminal Law Act:

(2) Where a person causes any wasteful employment of the police by knowingly making to any person a false report tending to show that an offence has been committed, or to give rise to apprehension for the safety of any persons or property, or tending to show that he has information material to any police inquiry, he shall be liable on summary conviction to [penalties described].


But this is not restricted to Commonwealth or common law countries either. Germany has section 145d of the Criminal Code:

(1) Whosoever intentionally and knowingly misleads a public authority or an agency competent to receive criminal complaints about the fact

  1. that an unlawful act has been committed; or

  2. that the commission of one of the unlawful acts under section 126 (1) is imminent,

shall be liable to [penalties described]

(2) Whosoever intentionally and knowingly attempts to mislead one of the authorities indicated in subsection (1) above about the participants

  1. in an unlawful act; or

  2. in an imminent unlawful act under section 126 (1)

shall incur the same penalty.


On a related note, if done to create suspicion of others but not one's self, Canada calls this activity public mischief, and criminalises it in section 140 of the Criminal Code:

Every one commits public mischief who, with intent to mislead, causes a peace officer to enter on or continue an investigation by

...

(b) doing anything intended to cause some other person to be suspected of having committed an offence that the other person has not committed, or to divert suspicion from himself;

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