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Go to the police RULES in custody: PACE
know about the guidelines to prosecution, when to prosecute - and when not - divert instead

'The appropriate adult' means, in the case of a: (a) juvenile: (i) the parent, guardian or, if the juvenile is in local authority or voluntary organisation care, or is otherwise being looked after under the Children Act 1989, a person representing that authority or organisation

'Mentally vulnerable' applies to any detainee who, because of their mental state or capacity, may not understand the significance of what is said, of questions or of their replies. 'Mental disorder' is defined in the Mental Health Act 1983, section 1(2) as 'mental illness, arrested or incomplete development of mind, psychopathic disorder and any other disorder or disability of mind'.

When the custody officer has any doubt about the mental state or capacity of a detainee, that detainee should be treated as mentally vulnerable and an appropriate adult called.

3.16 It is imperative a mentally disordered or otherwise mentally vulnerable person, detained under the Mental Health Act 1983, section 136, be assessed as soon as possible.

If that assessment is to take place at the police station, an approved social worker and a registered medical practitioner shall be called to the station as soon as possible in order to interview and examine the detainee.
Once the detainee has been interviewed, examined and suitable arrangements made for their treatment or care, they can no longer be detained under section 136. A detainee must be immediately discharged from detention under section 136 if a registered medical practitioner, having examined them, concludes they are not mentally disordered within the meaning of the Act.

Home Office Guidance: - appropriate adult


Rights of detained persons
When you arrive at the police station the custody officer must tell the detained
person, in your presence, that they have the following basic rights: -

The right to have someone informed of their arrest.

The right to consult privately with a solicitor and the fact that
independent legal advice is available free of charge.

The right to consult the Codes of Practice setting out the powers,
responsibilities and procedures of the police.

These are continuing rights which may be exercised at any stage during the
person's period in custody. However, there are some special times when
some or all of these rights may be delayed.

The custody officer must also give the detained person a written notice of
these basic rights, together with an additional notice of their other entitlements
such as reasonable standards of physical comfort, adequate food and drink,
access to toilet and washing facilities, clothing, medical attention, and
exercise where practicable.
That notice of entitlements should also mention
the circumstances in which an appropriate adult should be available to the
detained person.

Your rights as an appropriate adult: -

To be told why the detained person is being held.
To speak to the detained person in private at any time.
To inspect the written record of the person's period in detention (the
custody record) at any time.
To see copies of the notices of rights and entitlements referred to above.
To see a copy of the Codes of Practice setting out the powers,
responsibilities and procedures of the police.
To intervene in an interview if you feel it is necessary and in the interests
of the detained person to help them communicate effectively with the

To ask for a break in any interview, either to seek legal advice or consult
with the detained person (particularly if the interview is a lengthy one or if
the detained person is distressed or ill).

You are entitled to be present during any procedure requiring information to
be given by or sought from the detained person. Also, when any form of
consent is sought from the detained person or they are asked to agree and/or
sign any documentation. In particular, you are entitled to be present : -

When the custody officer informs the detained person of their rights and
When the detained person is cautioned.
During any police interview with the detained person at a police station.
When the detained person is charged.

Subject to strictly limited exceptions, during any search of the detained
person involving the removal of more than outer clothing.
When the need to keep the person in detention is reviewed.
During any form of identification procedure such as an identification
During any process involving the fingerprinting or photographing of the
detained person or when a sample is taken from them.
You are not entitled to be present during private legal consultations between
the detainee and their legal representative.

Legal advice
You should consider whether legal advice from a solicitor is required.
should normally speak to the detained person in private before deciding
whether legal advice should be requested.
The detained person can speak to a solicitor at the police station at any time.
It will cost them nothing and they can speak to the solicitor privately either on
the telephone or at the police station.

Even if you decide that a solicitor is not necessary when you first arrive at the
police station, you can change your mind about that at any time.

Even if the detained person says that they do not want legal advice you have
the right to ask for a solicitor if you feel that would be in their best interests.

However, while a solicitor can be called to the police station, the detained
person cannot be forced to see them if they are adamant they do not wish to
do so.
If you or the detained person want a solicitor to be called you should tell the
custody officer at once.

One of the main reasons for detaining a person at a police station is to ask
them questions. The police should only ask them questions in your presence
and before questioning begins the detained person should be cautioned in the
following terms:-
"You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you
do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in
court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence."
Your main role is to ensure that in any interview which follows the person
detained understands the questions which are being asked and that the police
do not ask questions in a way which is confusing, repetitive or oppressive.
Almost all interviews are audio tape recorded, but more and more interviews
are video recorded. There is a procedure for recording. In an interview you
should not feel that you have to remain silent.
You are entitled to intervene at
any stage.

You should always make sure that when questions are asked the person
detained understands them and that the police understand the reply.

If you are unhappy about the way in which the interview is being conducted
then you are entitled to ask them to stop the interview so that legal advice can
be taken from a solicitor.
Any queries or complaints about the conduct of the interview should be made
to the custody officer.

In the course of the police enquiry they may well ask the person for their
consent to the taking of fingerprints, photographs, the giving of DNA samples
or the taking of intimate or non-intimate samples. The rules for sample taking
are complex and you and the detained person may wish to take legal advice
before agreeing to any of these requests by the police.
Similarly the police may ask the detained person to agree to take part in an
identification parade or other identification procedure which could include
identification by video, in a group or through a confrontation.
These too can be complex and you and the detained person may wish to take
legal advice before consenting to or refusing to take part in any of these
procedures if asked to do so by the police.

How long can a person be detained?

The custody officer should ensure that police inquiries are conducted as
quickly as possible and that detained persons are released as soon as the
need for detention has ceased to apply.
A person may be detained for up to
24 hours without charge, having had their detention reviewed by the review
A person can only be kept for longer than 24 hours in the most
serious cases and the consent of a superintendent or a court is required.
the police suggest that they wish to keep a person for longer than 24 hours
then the detained person should take legal advice from a solicitor.

What happens next?

At the end of a police investigation the custody officer will consult with the
officer in the case before deciding whether to release the detained person
from custody without charge or to release them from custody to come back to
the police station for a further interview on another day or to charge them and
if so whether to keep them in custody to appear before the next available
court or release them on bail to appear in court on a future date.

You will have to be present at the time when the detained person is told of this
decision and, if the person is charged with an offence, when the charge is
read to them.
If the detained person is to be charged or cautioned the police
may want to take photographs, fingerprints and perhaps a DNA swab from the
mouth and/or a sample of body hair. You will need to be present for all of
these procedures.

People you may meet at the police station

1. Custody officer
The custody officer is the person responsible for the welfare of people
in custody. The custody officer is not involved in the investigation of
the offence. The custody officer keeps a full record of the detained
person's time at the police station and decides what happens to them
at the end of the investigation having spoken with the officer in the
2. Officer in the case
The officer in the case is the police officer responsible for investigating
the crime that is suspected. They would usually conduct the interviews
with the detained person and should not speak to the detained person
except in your presence.
3. Review officer
Usually an inspector or above who is not directly involved in the
investigation. Under normal circumstances a person's detention is
reviewed not later then 6 hours after they first arrived at the police
station and if they are detained longer it will be reviewed at intervals of
not more than 9 hours after the first review. It is the review officer's job
to ensure that the reasons for detention still exist and representations
can be made to the review officer by the detained person, the
appropriate adult or a solicitor about the continuing need for detention
or any connected matter of concern.
4. Defence lawyer
A defence lawyer is a solicitor or representative who is independent of
the police, and whose job it is to protect and advance the legal rights of
the detained person. They are required to act in the best interests of
the detained person.
The detainee and defence lawyer can meet
privately without an appropriate adult.

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