Your Rights if Arrested

All extracts are taken from the “Safer Doors” book. Published by Geddes and Grossett. Copyright laws apply.

Should you be arrested by the police whilst working as a door supervisor, it is important that you remain calm and that you co-operate with the arresting officer, even if you feel that the arrest is unjustified. You must not obstruct or resist the arrest, as criminal charges against you may follow if you do, even if the original reasons for the arrest turn out to be wrong.

Following your arrest you will be taken to the nearest police station so that the matter for which you have been arrested can be investigated, to determine whether or not you committed the offence that is being alleged.

The Police and Criminal Evidence Act of 1984, as well as giving private citizens and police officers various powers of arrest, lays down rules and conditions with which the police must comply in relation to the treatment of anyone they arrest. This brief section has been included to appraise you of these regulations, all of which can be found in codes C and D of the Codes of Practice, a book published explaining your rights.

On your arrival at the police station you will be met by the Custody Officer, who is normally a sergeant. The facts of your arrest will be related to him by the arresting officer, and certain details and information (name, address, age etc ) about you will be recorded on the custody record, a written or computerised record of your time in custody.

You will then be searched for illegal or unauthorised items, and informed of your rights whilst in police custody. They are that you have the right to :-

  • speak to an independent solicitor free of charge
  • have someone told that you have been arrested
  • consult the ‘Codes of Practice’ covering police powers and procedures

You will be told that you may do any of those things there and then, but if you do not you may still do so at any other time whilst detained at the police station. You will be given a written notice explaining these rights, and you will then be asked to sign on the custody record to acknowledge receipt of the notice.

Once your detention has been authorised by the Custody Officer you will be informed of the grounds for your detention as soon as practicable, and certainly before being questioned about the offence for which you were arrested. You will then be asked to sign on the custody record to indicate whether or not you require legal advice from a solicitor.

LEGAL ADVICE

Any person who is under arrest at a police station is entitled to speak to a solicitor at any time, day or night. This service is free, so it costs you nothing. Access to legal advice can only be delayed in certain exceptional circumstances, which can be found in the Codes of Practice. If you do not have a solicitor of your own you may ask for the duty solicitor. He has nothing to do with the police. Alternatively you may choose your own solicitor from a list in the phonebook.

You are entitled to speak to the solicitor in private on the telephone, and/or the solicitor may visit you at the police station.

If the arresting officer wants to question you about the offence for which you have been arrested, you can ask for the solicitor to be present whilst you are interviewed. Only in certain circumstances (explained in the Codes of Practice) may the police interview you before you have had a chance to speak to him.

Once the booking-in procedure is complete you will either be placed in a cell whilst enquiries are made into your arrest, or you may be interviewed straight away.

THE INTERVIEW

As mentioned earlier, you are entitled to have a solicitor present with you during the interview if you want one.

Interviews are conducted on tape now, so both the questions you are asked and the answers that you give will be recorded. At the beginning of the interview everyone in the room has to formally introduce themselves, and you will again be reminded of your rights. You will also be reminded that you are still under caution, which means that you do not have to say anything, but that it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something that you later rely on in court, and that anything you do say may be given in evidence. You will then be asked a series of questions about the offence that is being alleged against you, and you get your chance to explain your version of what happened, if you decide to.

At the end of the interview you will be given another printed notice which explains your rights with regards to getting a copy of the tape if you or your solicitor require one.

OTHER ENTITLEMENTS

Whilst in police custody you are entitled to the following :-

Visits and contact with outside persons
In addition to your rights to have someone informed of your arrest, and to legal advice, you may also receive visits, at the Custody Officer’s discretion. Unless certain conditions apply you may also make one telephone call, and be supplied with writing materials.

Reasonable standards of physical comfort
Where practicable you should have your own cell which is clean, heated, ventilated and lit. Bedding should be clean and serviceable.

Adequate food and drink
Three meals per day. At least two light meals and one main meal shall be offered in any period of 24 hours. Drinks should be provided at mealtimes and upon reasonable request between meals.

Access to toilets and washing facilities
Access to toilets and washing facilities must be provided.

Replacement clothing
If your clothes are taken from you (for forensic examination for example) you must be given replacements that are clean and comfortable.

Medical attention
You may ask to see the police doctor (or another doctor at your own expense) for a medical examination or if you require medication. You may also be allowed to take or apply your own medication at appropriate times, but in the case of controlled drugs the police doctor will supervise when doing so.

Exercise
Where practicable brief outdoor exercise may be taken daily.

Making representations
When the grounds for your detention are periodically reviewed, you have a statutory right to say why you think you should be released, unless you are unfit to do so because of your condition or behaviour.

Copy of the custody record
A record of your detention will be kept by the Custody Officer. When you leave police detention or are taken before a court, you or your solicitor shall be supplied with a copy of the custody record as soon as practicable. This entitlement lasts for up to 12 months after your release from custody.

Once the arresting officer has made all of the enquiries into the matter that he can at that stage, he will report to the Custody Officer who will make a decision as to what should happen next. There are 4 main courses of action that he can take :

  1. you may be charged with a criminal offence and kept in custody for the next available court
  2. you may be charged with a criminal offence and bailed (released) to attend court at a later date
  3. you may be bailed to return to the police station at a later date, by when other enquiries will have been completed, and a decision on possible charges will be made
  4. you may be released unconditionally, and no further action will be taken on the matter.

Only under certain conditions may the police keep you in custody for more than 24 hours, but you will normally be released once the arresting officer has questioned you, which is usually within a few hours. The Codes of Practice fully explains the rules of periods of detention.

SCOTLAND

Although the Police and Criminal Evidence Act does not apply to the police in Scotland, there are very similar rules and regulations in force there with regards to how people in custody are dealt with. If you are arrested you will be given a printed form explaining your rights, as you do in England and Wales.

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