When arrested, a person is taken into police custody in the relevant or, if full, the nearest police station that has space.

Searching and booking in

Once in the custody suite, the detained person will be searched and all property will be taken and placed in a locker, and will typically be returned upon release.  However, some items may be seized if deemed relevant to the investigation. There are occasions when a more intimate search may be conducted but this will be completed in a private room and under special conditions.

The Custody Sergeant will then talk the person through their rights and entitlements whilst in police custody, and also ask health and well-being questions to ensure that you are not at risk from any health condition whilst being detained.  If any medication is taken on a regular schedule, these will be allowed for, and efforts will be made to ensure medication is obtained if medication is not on their person.

Anyone with injuries or any specific health problems will be seen by a Medical Health Professional who will make record of any injuries, that again may be relevant to the investigation or any possible police complaint regarding arrest.

Your Rights

A detainee will be asked whether they wish to speak to a solicitor free of charge, either by way of duty solicitor or by named firm or solicitor of choice.  The Police are then obliged to notify the Duty Solicitor Call Centre who will forward the information to the relevant establishment.

The Custody Sergeant will also ask whether the detainee wishes to have anyone notified of the arrest, and on most occasions allow the detainee to speak to that nominated person.  However, the requirement is only to inform them of your detainment, if busy, this may be contact by a member of the police staff.  There are occasions where the Police are granted permission to keep someone ‘incommunicado’ for a specified period of time and no calls will be made until that has been lifted.  This doesn’t usually prohibit speaking to a solicitor, but in certain circumstances the incommunicado period may disallow this.

Police Enquiries & Interviews

Once the booking in procedure has been completed, the detainee will be taken to a cell, or if a juvenile (17 and under) into a detention room pending the Police being in a position to interview. Either at this stage or prior to your release, the Police will take fingerprints, photograph and a DNA sample as they are entitled to do.  A detainee will be asked for their consent of this procedure but the Police are able to use reasonable force should consent not be granted.

Police will typically then go to make their enquiries if the allegation is relatively recent; obtaining statements, CCTV, documentation or to carry out searches (if authorised by an Inspector). Once the enquiries have been concluded, the case will be allocated to an Officer who will conduct the interview and take over the role of Officer in the Case.

If a solicitor has been instructed and Police are ready for interview, Disclosure will be provided to the solicitor giving an outline of the allegation against the detainee.  A private consultation will take place between the detainee and solicitor to discuss this evidence and whether there is any defence to the allegation.  A decision will then be made as to how to respond to questions in interview and the solicitor will remain with you during interview to ensure that it is conducted in the correct manner.

What happens next

Once the interview has taken place, the Officer in the Case will need to speak to a Senior Officer or the Crown Prosecution Service to make a decision as to what happens next. There are three possible options;

  1. If there is clearly a need for further investigation to take place, but there is no question of public safety, then the detainee will be bailed and asked to return to the police station at a further date and time. This may or may not be subject to police bail conditions, your solicitor can make representations on this if appropriate
  2. If there is insufficient evidence to bring a prosecution, then no further action will be taken. The matter will be ended unless any further evidence comes to light
  3. If there is sufficient evidence and no further investigations can be done, either for the prosecution or the defence, then the detainee may be charged and either bailed for Court or detained for Court proceedings in certain circumstances. If the decision to remand someone for Court, representations can be made by the solicitor.

Nb. This guide is intended to give general information only and not intended to be used as the basis upon which Advice is given nor should it be relied upon as giving advice specific to a case or individual and Lawtons do not accept liability for anyone using this guide. Should you require specific advice in connection with a real case or situation, please contact us immediately so that we can provide specific Advice