Home > Civil Rights & Law > Rights If Your Child is Arrested

Rights If Your Child is Arrested

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 30 Jul 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Child Arrested Rights Police Criminal

There are a number of rights that apply specifically to children under the age of 17 who are arrested. Parents should be aware of these rights that begin as soon as the child is arrested.

Child Arrest in the UK

Just over 200,000 children are arrested in the UK each year, according to Home Office statistics. The average age of the children arrested is between 10 and 17 years old. Children at this age will usually not be aware of their rights when arrested. It is important that parents, guardians and anyone who is responsible for children know the rights children have when arrested. These rights begin when the child is arrested and continue to the court proceedings stage.

Informing a Parent When a Child Is Arrested

If a child is arrested for committing a criminal offence and they are under 17, the police must inform the parents as soon as possible. Children who are arrested should be made aware of their rights when they are first brought to the police station. One of these rights will be that a parent or guardian can be informed of the arrest straight away. Children under the age of 17 also have the right to have an adult present at the police station. Children should also be allowed to talk to this adult in private if they wish to do so.

Children’s Rights and Police Interviews

The police should not begin interviews if the child has requested that an adult such as a parent is present. If no adult is present the police may interview the child under certain circumstances. It may be the case that delaying an interview would mean that further crime could be committed such as harm to another person. If this is the case then the police may well interview the child in the presence of an appropriate adult. Steps should be taken first to contact the child’s parent before the interview takes place.

Detention Time Limits at a Police Station

If the police believe a child has committed an offence they can hold the child for 24 hours. But this is not the maximum time period a child can be held for. A further 12 hours can be added to the 24 hour period if the crime committed is of a serious nature. The police can actually ask the court for an extended period of detention. But this extended period cannot be longer than 96 hours before the child is charged with an offence.

Searches at the Police Station

The police do have the right to search a child under the age of 18 at the police station. If all clothing is to be removed during the search an adult of the same sex must carry out this search. Intimate searches can only be held in private where no one else can see the search. The child does have the right to have an adult such as a parent present during the search. This search can be conducted at any time whilst the child is held at the police station.

Obtaining Fingerprints from Children

The police can take fingerprints and photographs if the child is over 16. If the child is under 14 the police will need permission from the parent to proceed with fingerprinting. Children aged 15 and 16 will need to agree along with the parent’s agreement for fingerprinting to take place. Children over the age of 16 will be required to submit to fingerprints and photographs even if they have not agreed.

Intimate Samples Taken By the Police

If the police are intending to take hair and saliva samples then they must have the agreement of the child and parent if no charges have been made. If charges have been made then these samples can be taken without agreement from the child or parent. Blood and urine samples cannot be taken unless both the parent and the child have agreed to this. Even if the child has been charged they cannot be forced to give these intimate samples.

Children Under 17 Years and Court Proceedings

If a child is 10 years old then they cannot be charged with an offence and taken to court. Children over 10 years old but under 17 years will be treated as a young offender and criminal cases will be dealt with by the youth courts. If the child has committed an offence and an adult was also involved then the court proceedings can be held in either the magistrate’s or the Crown courts.

The expertise of a legal advisor should always be sought if a child has been arrested. The Children’s Law Centre will be able to provide free help and advice to parents of children who have been arrested or charged with a criminal offence. Learn about stop, search and arrest rights, here.

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[Add a Comment]
a guy said he wanted to "f*** me everyday" continuously for a few weeks through a code that only he and his buddies knew and understood. they would laugh about it and eventually I found out. he stopped saying it after I found out, and we're cool now, but out of curiosity could he be charged for anything? we're both 12.
curious - 30-Jul-16 @ 4:46 AM
Im 15 and i have threatened someone. Apparently i have been reported to the police what will and could happen?
JC - 26-Jul-16 @ 6:32 PM
My son 13 was asked to be voluntary interviewed by police about a trespass/ burglary of empty care home I took him to be interviewed and he admitted he was involve. The pc says it would go to youth triage. The pc has phoned & asked me yesterday to take him in for finger prints dna & photos today. Do the polic legally have to take them? Can i refuse them taking prints & dna? he was not arrested I took him in voluntary for the interview.
Lj - 23-Jul-16 @ 11:14 AM
My son at the age if 17 was arrested for an alleged sexual assault from 5 years ago when he was 12 years of age if he pleads guilty will he go to Juvy jail or adult prison he is turning 18 in 2 months
Worried - 16-Jul-16 @ 7:46 AM
my best freind was involved in an incident 3 years ago and it was dealt with and the other person involved was sentanced and the case was shut my mate didnt get involved in the case by the police and get charged as she was 15 and didnt do anything now shes turning 18 and is worried it will all be brought back up as she is 18 is this possible?
deena - 14-Jul-16 @ 4:02 AM
Meh - Your Question:
Hello my 14 year old daughter is being asked to interview over an incident which happened at a time we were not even here.do I have the right to refuse on the grounds we were not in the place at the time as we were miles away from home at a wedding at the time?

Our Response:
We don't have enough information to answer this as you've not said what she's being interview about etc.
CivilRightsMovement - 11-Jul-16 @ 2:32 PM
Hello my 14 year old daughter is being asked to interview over an incident which happened at a time we were not even here .do I have the right to refuse on the grounds we were not in the place at the time as we were miles away from home at a wedding at the time?
Meh - 9-Jul-16 @ 2:25 PM
PPP - Your Question:
Whose permission do police need to take fingerprints and DNA from a child under 14? Can it be the "appropriate adult" or does it need to be the parents. In this case the parents were not with the child as they were seen as the victim.

Our Response:
the appropriate adult can give permission.
CivilRightsMovement - 8-Jul-16 @ 11:26 AM
Whose permission do police need to take fingerprints and DNA from a child under 14? Can it be the "appropriate adult" or does it need to be the parents. In this case the parents were not with the child as they were seen as the victim.
PPP - 6-Jul-16 @ 10:33 AM
My son is 12 and has been assaulted in school by someone in his class. We have spoken to the principal of the school and he has said he would get back to us I requested for the school to view the CCTV but conveinantly it broke or hasn't been recording anything so there's no evidence apart from my sons shirt which when he was being assaulted was drawn on the boy who assaulted my son threatened him that if he told anyone that he would seriously hurt him hence why it has taken 2 weeks for my son to confess what had happened and now the importance of the cctv
sniff23 - 30-Jun-16 @ 11:05 PM
Hiya, right my friends daughter went in some house with her mate after her mate told her the door was open, she went in intestinally to keep all the stuff safe in the flat up stairs but at this moment there was a lot of things going on around her, she had found a lost dog, and had to reunite it, but that failed it ran of again, but she didn't ring the police to inform them that the things of the owner downstairs was in her mates flat, and when the police turned up next dayand the owner went into the flat downstairs he saw that his stuff where gone, and police went up stairs to her mates flat n asked about it n her friend told them what they did.What will happen to her she's never been done by the police before or any issues?
123wc - 27-Jun-16 @ 8:31 PM
AP - Your Question:
My 10 year old was taunted by a 9 year old on a Cub camp and my son hit him with a torch. The other boys family have gone to the police. What should I do ? Do I need to do anything ? The Cub leader is making a statement.

Our Response:
It's unlikely your son will actually be arrested for this - although 10 is the age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales. What is the cub leader's approach? Was the other boy seriously hurt? It's probably best to wait and see if the police decide to take any action. You can be there with your child if he is arrested etc.
CivilRightsMovement - 21-Jun-16 @ 12:57 PM
My 10 year old was taunted by a 9 year old on a Cub camp and my son hit him with a torch. The other boys family have gone to the police. What should I do ? Do I need to do anything ? The Cub leader is making a statement.
AP - 20-Jun-16 @ 5:45 PM
My son 15 yrs has assaulted his father by punching him the face - what will happen to him if his father presses charges - there is s history of physical and verbal abuse and charges have not been made against my son thank you
Dee - 18-Jun-16 @ 2:02 PM
My grandson was bullied by an Asian boy at his school into holding some cannabis overnight for him. My grandsons friend who knew about the incident told his mother the following morning she rang the school who rang the police.My grandson was caught in school with the cannabis and arrested. He was 15 at the time. He was offered a solicitor, whom he thought worked for the police, and fingerprinted without his permission. His mother was called and attended. My grandson, having been threatened by the Asian male, who is about 17, refused to answer any questions. This was last November and has not been dealt with. I'm not sure but don't think he is on police bail. His GCSE exams have been dropped from the 14 he was due to take to 3 the school have reluctantly allowed him to take. Help
Suzy - 9-Jun-16 @ 2:26 PM
Kirstyjo - Your Question:
My (then) 14 year old son and his (then) 15 or just turned 16 year old friend was arrested last year and held overnight in the cells. I attended within 10 minutes of them arriving at the station and was able to see my son in the custody block. While there they said that they had to take fingerprints and dna samples. The boys couldn't be interviewed until an appropriate adult arrived for the friend so I offered to fetch the mother and was assured I would be able to return to be with my child when I got back. My son had not committed a crime and was praised my staff for his behaviour and conduct although the friend was kicking off in his cell and being a pain. I returned with the lads mother within 15min of leaving and then waited in reception. We waited for hours but were then told that they had been 'bedded down for the night'. I explained that my son was only 14 and was terrified and that I had reassured him I would be back but no one was interested. I eventually begged them to let him know I was there but that he wouldn't be interviewed until the next morning but again was told no. My son has aspergers and this uncertainty along with the situation would be extremely disturbing but no one was interested and in the end I had to leave and return for interview the next morning. I'd just really appreciate some advice on this please as it doesn't seem right

Our Response:
The police can hold a child of 14 in custody for up to 24 hours if they think he/she has committed an offence. If you feel the police did not act correctly, you should consider making a complaint to the IPCC - Independent Police Complaints Commission
CivilRightsMovement - 9-Jun-16 @ 1:55 PM
My (then) 14 year old son and his (then) 15 or just turned 16 year old friend was arrested last year and held overnight in the cells. I attended within 10 minutes of them arriving at the station and was able to see my son in the custody block. While there they said that they had to take fingerprints and dna samples. The boys couldn't be interviewed until an appropriate adult arrived for the friend so I offered to fetch the mother and was assured I would be able to return to be with my child when I got back. My son had not committed a crime and was praised my staff for his behaviour and conduct although the friend was kicking off in his cell and being a pain. I returned with the lads mother within 15min of leaving and then waited in reception. We waited for hours but were then told that they had been 'bedded down for the night'. I explained that my son was only 14 and was terrified and that I had reassured him I would be back but no one was interested. I eventually begged them to let him know I was there but that he wouldn't be interviewed until the next morning but again was told no. My son has aspergers and this uncertainty along with the situation would be extremely disturbingbut no one was interested and in the end I had to leave and return for interview the next morning. I'd just really appreciate some advice on this please as it doesn't seem right
Kirstyjo - 8-Jun-16 @ 1:57 PM
Me and my friend climbed into london zoo at 10pm on a weekend and no one was there my friend left and it was just the 2 of us and we climbed into this other part of the zoo and then we got caught police came and I'm 14 so is my friend the police officer took my phone and wouldn't tell me why are they aloud to do that? then when he took us back to my friends he gave my phone back in the van and said i can't use it is this aloud?
KK - 22-May-16 @ 9:02 PM
What will happen to my child if he was accused of sexual assault for: Showing a 9/10 year old boy porn for a laugh Asking the boy to show his penis as a joke and touching him in his private areas also as a joke Touching a young girl around 7 near the butt when he was actually trying to push her off the bes
Jayv - 11-May-16 @ 9:51 PM
My son was attacked by 3 boys from his school in a result of that they broke his £180 headphones will they be made to pay for them? They are all age 12
Rich1987 - 11-May-16 @ 7:29 PM
If a 16 year old said to a boy who was 17 that he was going to stab him as a joke and his parents reported it to the police and they was coming To pick him up to talk to him what will they say and what will happen to him
Holmsey - 10-May-16 @ 7:51 PM
My 15 year old daughter was punched in the face by a 16 year old pupil whilst at school in school grounds. The footage was caught clearly on cctv. Could she press charges against the 16 year old for assault?
Bulldog - 5-May-16 @ 8:23 PM
My daughter got arrested as allegations were made against her. She had supposed to of hit her nan that she lives with. But my 14 year old came to me with strangulation marks around her neck and marks on her wrists. How long will this interview take as she's been there since 7.00
gail Turley - 25-Apr-16 @ 11:27 PM
My daughter 14 years old, went to a house party with her friend and some guys, the boys broke into their friends house and had a party , the boys damaged the walls and made a mess,my daughterwas there but didn't do anything, the boys have been charged and so has her friend,the police have not visted my daughter yet but said there were to her friend, can my daughter just answer no comment to there questions til I speak to my Lawer, what would the police do then?
laff28 - 15-Apr-16 @ 2:44 PM
sam180 - Your Question:
My 14 yr old son and his mates caused £7000 worth of damage to 6 public buses in rush hour ,they have been arrested but my son hasn't been charged he's on bail for 3 weeks pending charges what's the worst that can happen.Personally I think he needs to be taught a lesson.And why should I have to pay his fine if he gets one ?

Our Response:
This depends on how much of the responsibility for the damage is your son's. The maximum fine he could get is £1,000. The size of the fine will depend on the seriousness of the offence to be sentenced and how much the youth can pay. You will have to pay because you are his parent and have responsibility for him. If the youth is under 16 the youth court must order that the fine is paid by the parent or guardian if this is possible. He could also be given a "reparation order" where a youth court can demand that the youth makes reparation for the damage.
CivilRightsMovement - 7-Apr-16 @ 11:40 AM
My 14 yr old son and his mates caused £7000 worth of damage to 6 public buses in rush hour ,they have been arrested but my son hasn't been charged he's on bail for 3 weeks pending charges what's the worst that can happen.Personally I think he needs to be taught a lesson.And why should I have to pay his fine if he gets one ?
sam180 - 6-Apr-16 @ 1:05 PM
My son is 14 and him and his friends were throwing stones, one of them hit a passing car and smashed the windscreen, apparently it was my sons stone that hit the car! the police are waiting to speak to the boys, can my son or any of the other boys be arrested or taken to court, they are 13 & 14 yrs old.
Long legs - 31-Mar-16 @ 2:49 PM
DOC - Your Question:
What happens if a child is under 10 and commits an act of assault on an adult? What can the police do?

Our Response:
Children between 10 and 17 can be arrested and taken to court if they commit a crime. If it goes to court, they will be tried in a youth court.
CivilRightsMovement - 31-Mar-16 @ 12:54 PM
What happens if a child is under 10 and commits an act of assault on an adult? What can the police do?
DOC - 29-Mar-16 @ 12:24 PM
My son was 16 got in trouble for him and a girl throwing paper and pens at each other now he is 18 and now they want prosecute him for battery. Not girl and family but the state made the charge he graduates this year with stellar school record they wrong!
Calvin Maloy - 21-Mar-16 @ 9:30 PM
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