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Explains when you may have contact with the police, what happens if you are arrested and what your rights are if you are taken to the police station.
The police can arrest you without a warrant if they suspect (reasonably) that you have committed an offence, or are about to commit one, and they need to arrest you to:
If you are arrested the police must:
You will go to the custody area (suite). When you first see the custody officer:
After seeing the custody officer you will be held in a cell or detention room. If you are considered to be vulnerable you should have frequent visits by the custody staff to check you are ok.
This is the solicitor or specialist legal adviser who will be available to give you advice at the time that you are taken to the police station. They are completely independent of the police and you do not have to pay for them to attend the police station. You are allowed to choose your own if you prefer.See our full list of legal terms.
If you are held by the police and they realise, or are told, that you have a mental health problem, you have the right to be accompanied by an appropriate adult.
They should be an adult who is independent of the police, such as a member of your family or a mental health worker, but they cannot be your solicitor. You may be asked if you have a friend or family member you would like to ask or it could be a professional.
An appropriate adult should:
See our pages on police and mental health for more information.See our full list of legal terms.
This is the term used for the medical professional who is called to the police station if you need medical assessment or treatment.See our full list of legal terms.
Liaison and Diversion services identify people who have mental health problems, a learning disability, substance misuse or other vulnerabilities when they first come into contact with the criminal justice system as suspects, defendants or offenders.
You should be assessed by someone from this service, who will:
AMHPs are mental health professionals who have been approved by a local social services authority to carry out duties under the Mental Health Act. They are responsible for coordinating your assessment and admission to hospital if you are sectioned.
They may be:
This information was published in November 2017. We will revise it in 2019.
References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.