What happens if you’re arrested by the police? Part 2

Created on February 27, 2018

What happens if you're arrested by the police? Part 2

If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, click here

Offer of legal advice

As part of the booking in procedure, you will be read your ‘rights’.  This includes the right to have someone informed of the arrest (the police may make this call on your behalf and it doesn’t necessarily amount to a right to speak to someone on the phone directly), the right to consult the PACE Codes of Practice (the rules governing your stay in custody) and the right to speak to a legal advisor.  You may nominate your solicitor of choice, if you have one, or you may request the services of the Duty Solicitor.  If the offer of legal advice is taken up, the custody staff will contact the Defence Solicitor Call Centre who will notify the solicitor or firm of solicitors in question.  You will then receive a call from the legal advisor within 45 minutes.

The cell

Once the booking in procedure is complete, it is likely that you will be placed into a cell to wait for the investigating police officers to be ready for interview.  This period may last for a number of hours or overnight, depending on the time of day.  The cell will be covered by CCTV so the custody staff can observe what you are doing.  It is worth noting where the camera is before using the toilet.  There will also be an intercom system which can be used to contact the custody staff.  This should be used to make requests for food or drink or to request a blanket etc.  The intercom can also be used to seek an update on the case but frequent requests will generally be met with non-committal answers and increasing impatience.

Detainees are generally required to remove shoes before entering the cell.  This is because laces pose a similar risk to drawstrings. The shoes will sit just outside the cell door.

The Custody Sergeants and staff will change every few hours.  As part of the “handover” procedure the outgoing staff will update the incoming staff in relation to each and every detainee.  The new team are now responsible for the your care and they need to know about any health issues, whether someone has been intoxicated on arrival or particularly violent etc.

Ready for interview

When the investigating officers are ready to interview you, the legal advisor will be asked to attend the custody centre (if you have requested one).  The legal advisor should attend straight away and within 45 minutes at the outside.  The interviewing officer(s) will provide the legal advisor with some disclosure, a summary of the alleged incident or reason for arrest and the nature of the evidence in their possession.  The legal advisor may ask some questions in an effort to gather more information.  The police do not have to provide full or complete disclosure at this stage but they must not actively mis-lead the legal advisor.  It is also considered sensible for the police to provide the legal advisor with sufficient information so that they can properly advise their client.  A complete lack of disclosure will almost certainly lead to “no comment” advice, which would probably be considered justified in the circumstances.

Part 3, the final part of this article, will follow

Jeanette Appleton

Jeanette Appleton

Jeanette has been working as a criminal lawyer for 15 years and is an Accredited Police Station Representative. She is vastly experienced in the preparation of serious cases, such as murder and sexual offences, for trial in the Crown Court.

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