This section is about law enforcement. It looks at what the police are allowed to do, what to do if you are a victim of a crime or accused of a crime and what can happen to you if you break the law.
- I’ve been arrested, who needs to be told?
If you have been arrested you have a right to have your parents and or guardian told about the arrest and a right to a solicitor. For more information see our page on If you are arrested.
- What happens when I arrive at the police station following an arrest?
A police officer should tell you what your rights are and give this to you on a piece of paper. You should also be allowed to see the rules that the police must follow. If you are under 17 you have a right to an appropriate adult to explain the process to you and make sure you understand the questions you are being asked. You may then be asked to give fingerprints, be searched, have your photo taken and be interviewed but there are strict rules about this. For more information see our page on If you are arrested.
- Who can be my appropriate adult?
An appropriate adult can be a parent, guardian, social worker, friend, relative or any responsible person over 18. Depending on where you are in the country, there may be a volunteer scheme who can provide appropriate adult for you. For more information see our page on If you are arrested.
- How long can the police keep me in custody?
There are limits on how long the police can hold you at the police station before they charge you. You can be held for 24 hours if the police think that you have committed an offence. Another 12 hours can be added onto this if the offence they think that you have committed is serious. Sometimes, but not often, the police will ask the court whether you can be held for longer. For more information see our page on If you are arrested.
- Do I have to have my fingerprints taken?
If you are 14 years old or younger, your parent/s or guardian/s have to agree before the police take your fingerprints.
If you are aged 15 or 16 both you and your parent or guardian have to agree before the police can take your fingerprints.
If you are older than 16 the police can take your fingerprints even if you don’t agree to this if they need this information as part of their investigation. For more information see our page on If you are arrested.