3. Rights in Police Custody

You have the right to free legal advice, and to have someone informed of your arrest.

You have the right to have a solicitor present during an interview. We recommend that you use a solicitor with experience of supporting activists. If you have a solicitor coming, refuse to be interviewed before they arrive. If they can’t be contacted within a couple of hours then you may have to just give a no comment interview on your own.

Do not use the duty solicitor. They are unlikely to have experience in protest law, and may give bad advice.

You have the right to have a person informed of your arrest in addition to the call to your solicitor. If arrested on a protest, we recommend you call Green & Black Cross on 07946 541 511. We can liaise with our recommended solicitors on your behalf, ensure you have police station support on release, and give further support post-arrest.

You also have the right to:

  • A copy of the PACE codes leaflet. This tells you your rights in custody – ask for it.
  • A translator if English isn’t your first language.
  • Food that meets your dietary requirements – e.g. vegetarian/vegan/religious requirements
  • A doctor if feeling unwell.
  • A warm cell, including blankets and cups of tea/coffee.

If you are under 18, a parent or guardian or appropriate adult must be called and present for any interview. They may find a social worker, but we recommend against this. They may not agree for an appropriate adult to be someone already with a criminal record or involved in the action.

Key Messages

  • No Comment
  • You do not need to answer police questions, so don’t.

  • No Personal Details
  • You don't have to give details under ANY stop and search power.

  • No Duty Solicitor
  • Use a recommended solicitor with protest experience.

  • No Caution
  • They admit guilt for an alleged offence that might never get to court.

  • What Power?
  • Ask "What power?" to challenge a police officer to act lawfully.