Your Rights on Arrest
If you have been arrested, you have certain rights which must be upheld.
Your right to legal advice
You are entitled to advice either over the phone or by a lawyer in person, free of charge. You have a right to a Solicitors of your choice. This right is regardless of your means. Norrie Waite & Slater have Police Station cover 24 hours a day 365 days of the year. Contact us on 07769 906 451.
The right to a solicitor is an ongoing right and can be exercised at any time. This means that if you initially said you didn’t want a solicitor, then during the interview changed your mind, you can say at that time “I want a solicitor”. The police would have to stop the interview and get you a solicitor.
The right to know the reason for your arrest
You have the right to know the reason for your arrest and that reason should be recorded on your custody record. This is a document recording everything that happens to you whilst you are in custody. If there is a question about your treatment whilst in custody we can obtain a copy of the record on your behalf.
The right to food and drink whilst in custody
You are entitled to be provided with food and drink whilst in custody at no cost.
Review of your detention
A senior officer, usually an inspector, will review your detention to ensure that the enquiry is progressing as quickly as possible. This too will be marked up on the custody record and the reasons given for your further detention.
You are not entitled whilst in custody
- To a phone call, as you often see in American films.
- Visits from friends and family, there are exceptions to this for minors.
- To smoke. Police stations like all public buildings are non smoking by law.
Detention of youths
For the purposes of police station procedure you are a youth until age 17. Confusingly, in the court system the age is 18. In the police station if you are below the age of 17 you have to have an appropriate adult present at every stage following your initial detention. The first choice of appropriate adult should be a parent or guardian. If none is available the police usually have volunteers they can call on to perform that role. The appropriate adult is there to give some support to the young person in custody and to ensure that they understand the questions asked and the procedure. They are not there to offer legal advice. They also do not, by law, owe any duty of confidentiality to the young person detained.
The police station interview
All interviews are now recorded on audio tape. Though the procedure varies a little from area to area, the procedures are generally similar. At the start of the interview the police officer conducting the interview has to remind the interviewee that they are still under caution.
The interview itself is to ask the interviewee what their version of events is. It should not be an opportunity for the police to cross examine the interviewee. Vigorous cross examination could lead to a court deciding that the interview is unfair and is not therefore admissible as evidence. The courts do however seem to allow a high level of pressure in interviews so this should not be relied on.
It is far better to always have a solicitor with you so that the solicitor can confront the officer if they are applying undue pressure, and if the officer continues the solicitor can stop the interview.