Law enforcement officers are called “guardians” as they are the guardians of public safety. Combining paramilitary training with criminal investigation techniques, the guardians protect and serve their communities as much by preventing crime by their presence as by catching criminals after the fact.
Municipalities are responsible for raising and maintaining their own guardian forces paid for with taxes. The training and manner of effecting procedure vary with local culture and needs, but, like legislation, the fundamental structure and procedure of guardian forces is decreed by Pwyll and overseen by the Guild of Law. The Guild takes a much more laissez-faire approach to guardians than to legislation, but it does set the foundation of general procedure and may be called in to investigate charges of guardian malfeasance.
Violation of the rules of guardian conduct is always a felony of one kind or another, and if guilty of corruption, excessive force, or other misconduct, a guardian can expect a harsh penalty. Greater authority brings greater responsibility and comes at a higher price.
Under general procedure, guardians are restricted in how to conduct investigations, the weapons they may use, and the definition of “appropriate force,” but they have broad powers to arrest and detain individuals under suspicion, as material witnesses, or even just to establish short-term order. Standard operating procedure trends towards arrest first/ask questions later.
For example, when the Tearing Gibberers were accidentally summoned from the card and attacked the crowd in the square in Sesus, the guardians first responded against the attackers. But when those apparitions vanished, they switched quickly to restoring order in the square. That meant that almost everyone in the square was rounded up. The detained crowd would be screened immediately on site, with the most obviously innocent parties being let go and anyone about whom the guardians had any question of any kind being taken into custody and transferred to the precinct keep. All the arrestees would be registered on the arrest board as “on suspicion” of this or that and put in holding cells. Each one then would be investigated at the leisure of the guardians.
There is no such thing as bail, and a person may be incarcerated for as long as the investigation takes, at the sole discretion of the investigators. Once again, the manner in which suspects maybe held or not, or how, will vary from place to place, community to community, and case to case.
While under arrest and investigation, a suspect has the right to legal counsel and representation. Criminal defense attorneys intercede between their client and the guardians, oversee procedure to defend their client’s rights, deal with the prosecuting attorneys in preparation for trial, and argue for the client at trial, sentencing and appeal.
Basically, the criminal process runs thus: Arrest > detention/investigation > release (at discretion of guardians) or charge > submission to prosecution > release (at discretion of prosecutor) or arraignment > confession or trial > verdict > release or sentencing > appeal (optional).