At the Police Station

If you are arrested, the police should tell you why and explain your legal rights.  You should be cautioned and you should hear the caution several times whilst you remain in custody.

Your Rights

The caution reads: “You have the right to remain silent; but it may harm your defence if you do not mention, when questioned, something that you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.” These words are often said quickly by police officers and it is easy to misunderstand them. This is one reason why it’s important to instruct us to represent you as soon as possible after you have been arrested. We will explain what the caution means, why it’s significant, and how it can have a very serious impact upon your case.

When you are arrested you may be searched, and there can be a number of reasons for this. It may be because you are thought to be a danger to yourself or to others, that you have something that you may use to assist an escape, or that you may have evidence in your possession relating to an offence. The police have other powers in relation to stop and search as well.

If you are not arrested, you do not have to go to the police station. If you go voluntarily, then you can leave the police station at any time but the police could then decide to arrest you, if that would be appropriate.

If you assist with an investigation that is conducted outside a police station, you may be eligible for free legal support through the Legal Aid Authority Advice and Assistance scheme. This depends on how much money you have, and whether or not it would be in the interests of justice for you to get this funding. We will be able to advise you on this and help you apply if we think you might qualify. You would need to give us evidence of your means (your income etc) and would have to keep us informed of any changes in your circumstances.

Once you are at the police station, after you have been arrested, you can:

  1. have someone told of your arrest;
  2. see a copy of the Codes of Practice under the Police & Criminal Evidence Act 1984;
  3. see a medical professional free of charge if you feel unwell;
  4. have access to a solicitor FREE OF CHARGE. This solicitor can be one that you nominate, or a duty solicitor. If you choose to instruct us, the police will contact the Defence Solicitor Call Centre which in turn will telephone our team.

You should exercise your right to nominate us as your solicitor as soon as possible. We will have a better sense of what you should or should not say to the police in interview and may be able to find out more about the circumstances of the alleged offence. We will be better placed to then advise you fully as to your rights and how best to respond. Sometimes the police will suggest that calling for a solicitor may cause a delay or is “unnecessary”. That delay is unlikely to be significant and any downsides to that are far outweighed by the advantages of having your solicitor alongside you to help, advise, and assist you at interview.

Cost and Availability of Representation at the Police Station

As soon as you have been arrested at the police station, you are entitled to representation and advice free of charge, regardless of who you are and what you earn. The police should tell you this. The same applies if you attend at the police station as a volunteer or if you are formally interviewed at some other place (such as your home address) by a police officer.

At Eric Robinson Solicitors we always have a solicitor or an accredited police station representative available to assist you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We are here when you need us, whatever time of day that may be.

Investigations by Bodies other than the Police

Only the police have powers of arrest. Many other bodies have powers of investigation but they cannot arrest you. They cannot usually force you to be interviewed, but you may choose to do this voluntarily. Typically, these investigations might be carried out by the Department for Work & Pensions, a local authority, HM Revenue & Customs, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, amongst others.

You may be entitled to free legal advice relating to these investigations, but this will depend on a means test. If you’re not eligible for funding, we could still help – representation may not cost as much as you think, and we would be happy to discuss fees with you.

Representing You

We have many years’ experience in advising at the police station. A member of our team is permanently on-call, day and night 365 days a year:

Duty Solicitors

  • Barry Keel
  • David Lawrence
  • Julie Macey

Accredited police station representatives

  • Stan Taylor
  • David Franklin

We are sometimes assisted by other accredited police station representatives or solicitors acting as our agents.

We will let you know if we think you may be entitled for legal aid. We also offer an initial 30-minute meeting at a fixed cost of £50 plus VAT to discuss any new matter or enquiry. This option is often taken up by people who face non-imprisonable road traffic offences but it is open to anybody.

Contact us

For police station advice, contact us on 023 8042 5000 during office hours. Outside office hours, call our 24-hour emergency number 023 8042 6200.

To find out more about our fixed fee meetings, or about how we could help you, contact us on 023 8042 5000

Contact our experts for further advice

Richard Harris