Monday to Friday
9.00am - 8.00pm
Saturday and Sunday
10.00am - 3.00pm
What happens when someone is arrested? they should not answer questions until they have
spoken to a legal advisor.
When someone has been arrested they are
taken to the police station to be interviewed.
Will the interview be recorded?
The police have to follow set rules which govern
the way they can question a person suspected of The interview is usually recorded. If the interview
committing a crime. These rules are designed to is not recorded then a police officer will make
stop unfair pressure being placed on the person. notes and the person being interviewed will be
Someone who is deaf or has difficulty asked to sign them to confirm they are an
understanding the English language should be accurate record of the interview. The interview
given access to an interpreter. The person who will start with identifying questions, such as a
has been arrested should be given written name and address, and will then move on to
information about their rights upon arrival at the more serious matters.
police station, in a language they understand, in
accordance with the Police and Criminal Will they have their fingerprints taken?
Evidence Act of 1984 (PACE).
If the person arrested is suspected of committing
People under the age of 17 or mentally a crime then the police will probably take their
vulnerable adults should not be interviewed or fingerprints. They can also take the person’s
searched without the presence of an ‘appropriate photograph and a DNA sample. Any other type
adult’. This can be a parent, family member, of samples such as blood or urine, require
friend, social worker or teacher. If there is no permission from a senior police officer and the
suitable person available, the police may select suspect. The police have the right to keep copies
an 'impartial adult' from a list of volunteers to of fingerprints, photographs and DNA samples
perform the task. An ‘appropriate adult’ cannot even if the person is released without charge.
provide legal advice.
What happens next?
Can they see a solicitor?
Once interviewed the police must decide if there
Anyone who is taken to a police station under is enough evidence to charge the person.
arrest, or goes to the police station voluntarily is Depending on the severity of the crime, the
entitled to seek advice from a solicitor free of police must decide whether they can lay charges
charge. If the person has been arrested for a or whether this must be done by the CPS (Crown
serious offence or is unsure of their rights then Prosecution Service). The police can also
arrange to issue the person arrested with a How long will they be at the police station for?
A person cannot normally be held by the police
for more than 24 hours without being charged or
What happens when someone is charged? released. In the cases of more serious offences a
further 12 hour detention can be granted by a
When someone is charged with an offence they
senior police officer. A total of 96 hours can be
are given a charge sheet with all the details of
granted in the most serious of cases but this
the offence for which they are being charged, the
must be approved by the Magistrates Court.
date of their court appearance and any bail
conditions that have been set. If the police do not have enough evidence to
charge someone they may only be detained if
What is bail? the police have good reason to believe that by
furthering the detention they would be able to
When someone is charged with an offence they obtain the evidence they need to bring charges.
have a presumed right to bail. This means that If an investigation is continuing, the police can
they should be released from the police station bail someone without charge to return to the
‘on bail’ until their court appearance unless there police station at a fixed time and date.
are sufficient grounds to believe that further
offences may be committed, that witnesses or
What happens if a person breaks their bail
victims may be interfered with or that the person
conditions or does not attend court?
may not turn up for court. If the custody officer
has reasonable grounds for believing that any of If a person breaks any of the conditions of their
these circumstances may occur the person bail, they can be arrested and brought in custody
charged can be held in custody until their court to the next sitting of the local Magistrates' Court.
hearing. If the person is later found to be guilty Magistrates may then refuse any further bail
the time spent in custody before trial will be applications. If they fail to attend court without
deducted from the sentence. reasonable excuse when on bail, they commit a
separate offence under the Bail Act 1976.
Bail can be conditional whereby the person has
to abide by certain rules, for example living at a What rights does a person have when in
certain address, being subject to a curfew or police custody?
signing on at the police station at set dates and
times or it may be unconditional. Unconditional A person remanded into police custody has the
bail has no requirements other than ensuring the right to:
person attends court on their hearing date. free legal representation
a phone call to inform a family member or
What is a caution? friend
A caution is a strong warning from the police that food and exercise
the matter could have been taken to court. The a warm, clean cell with bedding
person will be warned that if any further offences at least 8 hours rest in every 24 hour
are committed then it is very likely that this will period
happen. A caution can only be given if the
person admits guilt.
What if they are not charged?
If the police do not feel they have enough
evidence to make a charge then they will either
release the person with no further action and the
case will be dropped or they will delay making a
decision until further information has been