3. What to Take With You
It is usual for arrestees to have their belongings taken away by the police – phones, wallets, and sometimes clothes.
See if you can take with you:
- This guide
- A mobile phone and charger and lots of credit
- Food and drink – for yourself and for the arrestees once they are released
- Try to ensure that this meets dietary requirements of arrestees (vegan, halal, kosher, allergen-free etc.) and is high-energy
- Police Station Release Forms (one for every person who’s been arrested).
- Arrestee Information leaflets (one for every person who’s been arrested)
- Some money to pay for taxi fares, food, hot drinks, and possibly accommodation for released arrestees
- Pens/pencils and a notebook – you may want to make extra notes
- Plain travel cards (if applicable) for arrestees to travel after release
- Warm clothing, foil blankets and raincoats – you could be hanging around late at night
- A pen torch in case it gets dark
- A few bustcards
- Basic first aid and health supplies, including Queercare RAISED cards (see Appendix for suggested First Aid kit list).
- Phone numbers for:
- The Legal Back Office for the action the arrestees were arrested it (if applicable), or otherwise, the Protest Legal Support Helpline: 07946 541 511
- The solicitors you know or think the arrestees will use
- Any friends or family members who want to be kept in the loop
- The custody desk for the police station you are at
- A few local taxi numbers
- Safer spaces, local B&Bs or other local accommodation wherever possible
- Information about local transport and accomodation
- Entertainment, such as a book and playing cards
- Patience, empathy and listening skills
Please don’t bring:
- Anything illegal (weapons, drugs etc.) – there is a small chance you could be stopped & searched so don’t incrimimate yourself
- Enemies – sitting outside a police station with someone you strongly dislike is not conducive to a supportive atmosphere!
- Attitude – being seen as confrontational or rude by the cops could condemn arrestees to longer in custody
You don’t need to go to the police station right away after someone’s been arrested – it usually takes a few hours for them to be taken to the station and be booked in, before being held, interviewed and released. It’s a good idea to make sure you’re ready and have everything, including people who can take over support during the night or later on, before heading to a station.
If you’re not sure where an arrestee has been taken, ask a Legal Observer if they know and phone the Protest Legal Support Helpline / Legal Back Office, as they may have more information.