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Prison
| 10 September 2019

24 hours in police custody

This isn’t just a catchy name for a TV show. Police can hold a person in custody for up to 24 hours. They can hold a person for a further 12 hours with the permission of the Superintendant and with the permission of the Court for more serious offences, for a period of up to 72 hours.

Those detained are often misinformed of their rights and this can sometimes make their situation worse.

Everyone in custody is entitled to free and independent legal advice, be it from your own solicitor or the duty solicitor. You have the right to choose.

If arrested you are entitled to speak to a solicitor, however if the arrest comes as a result of a suspicion of drink or drug driving, you are not entitled to speak to a solicitor prior to any procedure taking place such as a breath or blood test. Those who insist it is their right, often find themselves charged with an offence of failing to provide a sample, which often results in a more serious form of punishment.

You are also entitled to have someone informed of your arrest. This does not mean you are entitled to speak to someone yourself. More often than not, people believe they can speak to someone themselves and this can sometimes create unnecessary issues between the person who has been arrested and the custody staff.

Another misconception is that you will get out a lot quicker if you go into interview without representation. Once we are instructed, we liaise with the custody suite repeatedly to ensure their officers are acting as expeditiously as possible. We also agree a time with the police to attend to ensure no time is wasted and that the person in custody is seen as soon after arrest as possible.

An Inspector has to review a person’s time in custody within the first 6 hours of their detention at the police station, then another 9 hours later and then technically in the 24th hour should that person still be in custody. We always ask to be contacted for reviews, this gives us an opportunity to discuss with an Inspector, whether or not you should be held in custody and to be informed of the progress of the investigation.

Remember not everyone who is arrested is guilty of an offence and even those who are, should be entitled to ensure procedures are carried out properly and given advice with regard to the law in relation to any allegation made.

We can always attend with you for a voluntary interview. Again you are entitled to free and independent legal advice.

If you need assistance we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to attend the police station. Call us on 01702 342525. We cover police stations in Essex, London and the surrounding areas. We have offices in Southend, Benfleet, Billericay and Stratford.

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