Being arrested can be a frightening experience. It is worth knowing what will happen to you so that you can feel more confident. On arriving at the police station:

  • You will be taken out of the Prisoner Transport vehicle and into the police station through the back door
  • You may be asked to pass your hands and feet (souls of your shoes) under an ultraviolet light – shows if you have been in contact with any Smartwater (https://www.smartwater.com/security)
  • You will be taken to the Custody Suite where the arresting officer / other officer will tell the custody staff why you have been arrested. They will book you in. If you haven’t given your personal details you may wish to do so at this stage as it may speed the process up, although you do not have to.
  • You may be asked be asked to confirm your nationality – you are REQUIRED BY LAW TO GIVE THIS.
  • You will be searched and property put in a bag and listed
  • You will be asked to sign a number of different things, including if your property listed is correct, and if you requested/received medical attention. YOU CAN REFUSE TO DO SO.
  • You SHOULD be given a copy of the Police and Criminal Evidence (PACE) Codes of Practice booklet – IF NOT, ASK FOR IT – ALWAYS WORTH TAKING A COPY AND READING IT (https://www.inbrief.co.uk/police/pace)
  • Your photograph and finger/hand prints will be taken – if your offence is recordable, e.g. assault, your DNA will be taken too by swab in this instance.
  • If you need medical assistance you can ask to see the nurse – if you have any medical conditions you may choose to make them aware of them in case you need help. IF YOU HAVE MEDICATION ON YOU AND YOU NEED ACCESS TO IT LET THEM KNOW.
  • You will be taken to your cell, you will need to leave your shoes outside and anything loose you could potentially harm yourself with, ie: a belt.
  • You can request a blanket and pillow (or more than one!)
  • You can request a pen and paper – USE IT TO RECORD DETAILS OF YOUR ARREST AND DETENTION.
  • You can request food and drinks – TELL THEM IF YOU HAVE DIETARY NEEDS.
  • You can be held for up to 24 hours initially and your case will be reviewed periodically to ensure you are not held for an excessive time– this is broken into 3 sections:
    • 6 hours – then you have to be given a reason why you are being detained longer
    • 9 hours – again you have to be given a reason and it explained fully
    • 9 hours – at this point you will be either be formally charged or released.
  • When you are released ASK FOR A COPY OF YOUR CUSTODY RECORD – they will print it for you to take. It shows all the details of your stay.
  • OFFICERS SHOULD NOT INTERVIEW OR QUESTION YOU IN THE CELL
  • INDEPENDENT CUSTODY VISITORS spot check police station cells from time to time and if they come when you are in custody you may be asked if you are willing to talk to them. They make sure you have everything you are entitled to – they are not interested in why you are there, just that you are being looked after properly (https://icva.org.uk/).