You never really think it’s going to happen until it happens, and when it does you need to be prepared. Growing up as an African we tend to learn these things very quickly, and although I have been fortunate enough to have never been in that kind of situation, my brothers have, and honestly it’s good to know your rights.
The police, regardless of the country you live in try to take advantage of ignorance, and will try to take loopholes which could lead to you being fucked over in the long run, so here are some things you need to know in order to deal with any sticky situations.
They can’t speak to you without a lawyer present
I don’t care how long it takes, they will try to hurry things along by speaking to you without legal representation – but fuck that, get a lawyer. It doesn’t mean you’re guilty of anything, it just means you know your rights.
You have the right to remain silent
If you’re arrested, the police have to say your rights, and that is “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“.
Although remaining silent could harm your defence, it does not mean you’re guilty, but anything you do say will be used in court so be wary, and don’t let anyone pressure you into saying anything. (Hence why you need legal representation regardless of the situation)
If you’re under 18, you need a parent present
Again, demand to have your parent or guardian there, if any questioning takes place without them it’s illegal. Under 18’s are considered vulnerable!
Medical help if you’re feeling ill
This is something no one really says, but honestly it is so important. If you’re not feeling well, the police aren’t allowed to keep you without offering any help!
Have a written notice of your rights
Yup, they not only have to say it, but they have to give you it in writing as well, which includes them stating they have to give you food and regular breaks, alongside an interpreter if you require one.
Also here’s a helpful reminder, the police have conditions for a stop and search in regular cases.
- they have a search warrant
- they have reasonable grounds to suspect that you have committed a crime or are about to commit a crime. Reasonable grounds to search can’t be based on an officer’s hunch or instinct. It should be based on reliable information, facts or seeing you acting suspiciously
- you are a danger to yourself or others
- you are suspected of having weapons on school grounds
- you are suspected of terrorist activity
- you are in an area where the police are searching people for a limited time because there is a belief that serious violence might take place or people are carrying weapons. For example, a protest
- if you agreed to be searched as you enter an event like as a football match when you bought the ticket.
You can also be searched if the police have reasonable grounds to suspect you have:
- illegal drugs
- a knife – unless you have a folding pocket knife with a cutting edge of 7.60cm or less. You may have a legal defence if you needed it for work, it’s for religious reasons or it’s part of a national costume (such as a sgian-dubh worn with a kilt)
- a gun
- stolen property
- alcohol – at major football or rugby matches or on public transport travelling to them
- cash of £1,000 or more – that was obtained through criminal activity
- listed assets worth £1,000 or more – like gold and watches that were obtained through criminal activity
- fireworks – that you intend to use antisocially.
Know your rights guys 🙂