Your rights on arrest
You have various rights on arrest. You can, in most cases have someone informed of your arrest.
The right to legal advice
There have been some serious changes to the way this right is operated by the police but the right remains. You are entitled to advice either over the phone or by a lawyer in person, free of charge. This right is regardless of your means.
Solicitor of your choice
The police request solicitors through the Duty Solicitor Call Centre (DSCC). This doesn’t affect your right to the solicitor of your choice. You can request your own solicitor or one you would like to represent you, the police are under a duty to provide that solicitor if he/she is available.
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.
Representation free of charge
Police station advice, unlike most other areas of legal aid, is not means tested. This means that you are free to request the solicitor of your choice with no worry of the cost to you. When the new DSCC scheme started there were instances of the police saying to detainees that they had to have the duty solicitor or pay your own solicitor. This is not the case and that should not now be said by the police.
Contact through the Duty Solicitor Call Centre (DSCC)
Most contact to your solicitor is now through the DSCC call centre. The police call the centre with details of the case and the detail of the solicitor of your choice. The DSCC then contact your solicitor direct. The DSCC is always available and have contact numbers for Norrie Waite and Slater solicitors who can be contacted at all times. We guarantee to be at the police station within 40 minutes of receiving the call. You will not be delayed by requesting a solicitor.
The reason for 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.
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 have a solicitor with you so that the solicitor can confront the officer and if the officer continues can stop the interview.
Follow this link to read information on being charged or bailed.