Police Powers - Part 3 - At the police station
Police powers - At the police station
Police have a variety of powers to assist them carry out work in the community. These are generally set out in the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002. As a member of the community, you have certain rights and responsibilities when police stop to speak to you. Best rule of thumb is to stay calm and respectful – if you become aggressive or violent, things will probably get worse even if you have done nothing wrong in the first place.
At the police station
You will be given a document by police that sets out your rights. Police may take photographs, fingerprints and palm prints for identification. They may also search you again.
You have a right to contact a lawyer and a friend or family member.
The right to silence and special cautions
If you have been arrested, you have the right to silence, which means that apart from your name, address and date of birth, you do not have to answer questions asked of you by the police. This includes participating in a recorded interview with police.
This is different if you are arrested for a serious indictable offence where police may give you a “special caution” which means, if after that caution, you fail or refuse to tell police a fact that is later relied upon in your defence in court, the court may be permitted to use your silence against you. Police may only give a special warning when:
- You are arrested for a serious indictable offence
- You have had the opportunity to obtain legal advice from a lawyer, and
- The special caution is given to you in the presence of your lawyer.
If you are arrested for a serious indictable offence and after speaking to a lawyer, your lawyer may tell you that it is your best interests that the lawyer does not attend the police station.
How can a solicitor help?
If you have been arrested a solicitor can help in the following ways:
- attending the police station if it is in your best interests
- advising you of your rights and what you should and should not do while in custody
- applying for bail
- representing you in court.
If you would like more information or if we can help in any way, contact Kingston Fox Lawyers.
This article is a summary of this topic and does not constitute legal advice. It is provided by way of information only. It is recommended that if you are charged with an offence that you seek legal advice.