Being arrested and detained at a police station can be a harrowing ordeal, especially when the police have the powers to detain alleged offenders for up to 24 hours without charge.
So, the last thing that a detainee needs, regardless of their guilt, is to be treated unfairly or in contravention of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 Codes of Practice (Code C – Detention).
What Rights do I have whilst detained?
A suspect who is arrested and detained at a police station has defined rights, which are as follows:
- The Right to Legal Advice
All detainees have the right to free and independent legal advice from a solicitor at any time. The police MUST NOT at any time try to discourage any detainee from obtaining legal advice.
Upon the detainee making his intention to exercise this right CLEAR to the police, the custody officer must act, without delay, to accommodate the same.
There is, however, a power for the police to delay this right when they feel that it may hinder or interfere with the investigation of an indictable offence, but this must be authorised by a Superintendent or a higher ranked officer.
- The Right not to be held ‘Incommunicado’
Any person who is arrested has the right, on request, to inform a person of their whereabouts and detention, as soon as practicably possible.
If, for some reason, the nominated person cannot be contacted, then the detainee has the right to provide two further alternative contacts.
The only time a detainee may not be permitted to inform someone of their detention is when the police believe that the detainee’s contact with others may have a negative impact upon the investigation of the case.
These are the two main rights that detainees have whilst in police custody, as well as being provided with food and drink at regular intervals, access to a toilet and washing facilities, being kept in an adequately heated, clean and ventilated cell which consists of blankets, pillows and a mattress of a reasonable standard.
If any of the above rights are not met, then a detainee has the right to make a formal complaint to the police and our Cagin Husnu has experience in assisting people take action against the police.
It should be noted that the above rights are not exhaustive and if you feel that you have been wronged by the police, then we will assist you in making a complaint in relation to the same.
How do I make a complaint?
To assist you in making a complaint against the police, we would first need to take your full instructions in relation to your grievances.
Once we have formulated your complaint and collated any supporting evidence, we can submit an application to the Professional Standard Board who deals with complaints against the police.
We can agree a fixed fee for the work involved.
What is the process of making a complaint?
Once the Professional Standard Board has received our complaint, they will acknowledge the same and forward it to a Chief Inspector at the Central Justice Services who will oversee the investigation and assign it to an officer of the rank of Inspector.
The Inspector will then launch a full scale investigation, which could take weeks or even months to conclude, before arranging to meet with the complainant and discuss the findings of the investigation.
If the police acknowledge that they were at fault and apologise for the same, then this could pave the way for complainants making a civil claim for compensation. We can ensure that you receive confirmation, in writing, of the police’s admissions as to their failures which would be strong evidence in the civil Courts.
If you require any assistance at all in relation to making a complaint against the police, please feel free to contact Cagin Husnu of Kangs Solicitors who will be happy to advise you in relation to your potential case.