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A person’s rights whilst detained at the Police Station

Posted: 12 January 2024

A person’s rights whilst detained at the Police Station and should a solicitor be present?

During a detention at the police station in England and Wales, the police are required to follow a protocol. As outlined in the Police ad Criminal Evidence Act 1984, Code of Practice C. Upon arrival you would be given your rights and entitlements which includes the right to free and independent legal representation.

Legal rights at police station

Role of Police Station Accredited Representative:

The role of the legal advisor is to protect and advance the detainee’s basic and legal rights to ensure that the police deal with the detainee appropriately and fairly.  The role can be advanced at anytime including during the police interview and legal advice over the telephone.

All legal advisors are separate and independent to the police and must put the detainees best interests first. This includes supporting the detainee through the interview process and providing invaluable advice concerning how to approach the interview. In particular, whether it would be appropriate to either, answer questions, exercise their right to silence or provide a written prepared statement.

As part of their role, the legal advisor would also have the opportunity to speak with the interviewing officer(s). This is to find out more information in relation to the evidence they may hold with regard to the offence(s) the detainee has been arrested for. This will of course assist them further when providing their advice ready for the police interview.

Duty Solicitor Scheme:

If the detainee does not know the name of a specific Criminal Defence Law Firm, they remain to have the right to independent legal advice from a Duty Solicitor or Accredited Representative on the Duty Solicitor Scheme Rota.  This is a Legal Advisor who is available 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week.

How much is legal advice at the Police Station?

All legal advice is free and independent whilst at the police station for all offences. This includes either being arrested or being interviewed under a voluntary basis.

Legal advisor

We understand that being arrested or being held in a police station can be a daunting experience. Without the stress of spending further time there, the fear of being charged with a criminal offence, seizure of property or retention of your fingerprints.

However, we would always advise that it would be in the best interests of the detainee to utilise their right to free and independent legal advice. This can be as simple as having telephone advice or requesting the legal advisor to attend the police station in preparation of the police interview. As this ensures that not only you are given legal advice, but to also that the police are following the Code of Practice accordingly and your basic rights are being addressed. This can include conditions of detention, health and welfare or whether a detainee requires an Appropriate Adult or Interpreter.

Overall, yes, a detainee at the police station, no matter the offence, should always request for a legal advisor to be contacted to defend their rights and provide the most appropriate advice.

If you require advice or assistance at the Police Station, please contact our criminal team at our Braintree 01376 559690, Ipswich 01473 226577 or Benfleet  01268 792994 office. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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