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Rights If Your Child is Arrested

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 9 Dec 2017 | 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]
Can the police search a 14 yr old in the street in England?
Tears - 9-Dec-17 @ 8:49 PM
My child was arrested and I never got informed and he stayed over night without me knowing so I freaked out and thought my son was kidnapped
Hire - 7-Dec-17 @ 8:50 PM
help please - Your Question:
My 16 year old boyfriend was arrested yesterday, I’m scared. As myself being a juvenile I don’t know how long they can keep him. I’m traumatized also because I really miss him and I can’t stay away from him for too long. he’s missing out on school and might just have to do 10th grade over again if he doesn’t get out soon. What’s the longest they can keep him in?

Our Response:
In the UK, it's rare for a 16 year old to be detained overnight and he will have an appropriate adult such as a parent/carer with him when he's interviewed.
CivilRightsMovement - 1-Nov-17 @ 12:01 PM
My 16 year old boyfriend was arrested yesterday, I’m scared. As myself being a juvenile I don’t know how long they can keep him . I’m traumatized also because I really miss him and I can’t stay away from him for too long ... he’s missing out on school and might just have to do 10th grade over again if he doesn’t get out soon. What’s the longest they can keep him in?
help please - 30-Oct-17 @ 6:40 AM
Hi, police has ben arrested my 14 old son for fake criminall report. They had held him in the police station all day and didn't informed my or my wife,when we call and ask info they not informed me.They gived him some questions with out parents, had talk whit my son after who he got trouble and get so looket inside. this is legall in England? Or we can report it?
Victim - 20-Oct-17 @ 10:24 PM
My 13 son found a knife on school premises he took the knife to initially to hand it in but instead headed off for lunch and had told a few others that he had found this knife a short time later he is getting the blame of threatening two others police have been involved what could the outcome be under Scottish law
Sony - 13-Sep-17 @ 2:59 PM
Jay - Your Question:
Hi my 15 year old son was asked to open his bags as the shop believed he had been stealing. My son would not and has no need to steal but I would like to no if the shop staff can do this.Thanks

Our Response:
We can't find a definitive answer to this anywhere sorry!
CivilRightsMovement - 8-Aug-17 @ 11:25 AM
Hi my 15 year old son was asked to open his bags as the shop believed he had been stealing. My son would not and has no need to steal but I would like to no if the shop staff can do this. Thanks
Jay - 5-Aug-17 @ 3:46 PM
My 14yr old step daughter was arrested the other night 17/7/17 and held for 3hrs then released with no charge. Are the qld police allowed to hold a juvenile for that amount of time with out informing her mother, father or guardian ?
G - 24-Jul-17 @ 9:38 AM
My brother has been assaulted by 12-14 yr old and left him with a bloody face with blood everywhere. What can be done about this?
David - 22-Jun-17 @ 6:44 PM
My 16 year old son was arrested. I informed police I was attending the interview for my son as his appropriate adult.police refused to give me details of my sons welfair or of the arresting officer. Or any details of his arrest.my son had his interview without my knowledge. Police did not inform me of this.and they have detained him over night for court.yet when charged a neighbour was present.yet she was refused his charge sheet. Surely none of this is right. * I also rang the custody suite every half hour to check on my son.he was interviewed at 6.02pm I rang at 9.31pm and they still said their not ready to interview my son....3 hours too late!!
locky - 29-Mar-17 @ 1:36 AM
My son was/is going through a stage of acting up and has been in trouble a few times which is heart breakking because I done secure units, young offenders and prison and desperately tried to avoid it for my sons. Any way one time the police came in 2 women 2 men and they were being arrogant and aggressive standing over my son as he sat on the sofa and they ended up arguing. After a few minutes one cop grabbed my boy with his wrist whilst the other grabbed the other they ran him across the room slammed him against the wall and punched him 8-13 times in the rib cage very hard shots, they then handcuffed him and put hus arms that far up his back his head was just off the floor (I was desperate to react to the bully boy but i am a single parent and had to collect my 9 yr old from school) So the females tell me to calm down and put in an official complaint which i have but my boy came home that night and they had added police assault, resisting arrest, racial abuse, breach of the peace to his charges. So during the course of him facing thode charges we hear the evidence of the 4 cops, all different but all trying to back the copper. My boy got all not guilties and the copper is to stand trial on 4 charges and faces an internal probe into another 11. Biggest gang in the UK is the police
ANNOYED - 8-Mar-17 @ 10:25 PM
helpme - Your Question:
(continued from last comment)so I have never been arrested and I did something that I didnt know it was illegal to do. I never done it again and I made a small mistake out of anger too. my life has already been destroyed in 2 months, will the police give me a second chance and not give me a criminal record for something done 8 months ago for such a stupid reason. at the age of 16 trying to get my own account blocked that someone has changed my email and password and kept my personal account. and I go on a site and saw 1 idencent image and just downloaded the ones in the forum without even looking at them I just uploaded them on the same site out of anger without thinking and I thought it was legal because others have done it and police does not take down the website and never done anything for sexual reasons using these pictures. when I have never done anything bad to get police involved and I told them why I did it and told them the truth will I just get a slap on the wrist or a criminal record and be classed as a pedophile for the rest of my life with the police and a suicide at the end of the case.

Our Response:
It would be useful for you to talk to someone directly about this. Here are some places to try:
Revolving Doors
Papyrus Hopeline - on 0800 068 4141
Family Lives
CivilRightsMovement - 2-Mar-17 @ 11:50 AM
(continued from last comment) so i have never been arrested and i did something that i didnt know it was illegal to do. i never done it again and i made a small mistake out of anger too. my life has already been destroyed in 2 months, will the police give me a second chance and not give me a criminal record for something done 8 months ago for such a stupid reason. at the age of 16 trying to get my own account blocked that someone has changed my email and password and kept my personal account. and i go on a site and saw 1 idencent image and just downloaded the ones in the forum without even looking at them i just uploaded them on the same site out of anger without thinking and i thought it was legal because others have done it and police does not take down the website and never done anything for sexual reasons using these pictures. when i have never done anything bad to get police involved and i told them why i did it and told them the truth will i just get a slap on the wrist or a criminal record and be classed as a pedophile for the rest of my life with the police and a suicide at the end of the case.
helpme - 28-Feb-17 @ 6:02 PM
okay so when i was 16 years old i had a gaming account worth more than 400 pounds and i was meant to do a deal with someone and that person has changed my email and password and will not give my account back and has given me a brand new gmail account pretending it was worth more than mine for gaming but it was not. he lied and stole my account. i have never robbed, drank, smoked, done any type of drugs, assulted or done anything bad and never been arrested. i went on to a website and tried to get my account blocked. on that website it is a forum kind of site where you can upload photos. i made a account and used the email that the person has took which was mine and made a account to get my account permanently blocked by uploading stupid pics onto the site so people can report the email. i clicked on someone elses post and there was indecent pics of children. i did not even look at all the photos i only saw the first one and was shocked. i thought that if i can download these photos and just upload them on the exact same website forum and try to make people angry and report the email and get it back i thought it was fine as i seen others upload these kind of images so i thought it was legal. i did not know what i did was illegal. i did not look at the rest of the images i just saved them and did what i saw i was gonna do and deleted them like 5 mins after. i never used it for any type of sexual reasons i just thought i can use it to get payback but like i said i never done anything bad and i seen others do this. 6 months later police come to my home and arrested me and told me what i did. i did not know what will happen police found out and did not know the consequences . i never even really downloaded these photos for any other purposes just to get my account blocked by getting people arrested. they have put bail conditions on me for 6 months im now 17. i still have bail conditions on and i have lost the love of my cousins and family, i have lost contact with every friend i know. i have been suspended from college and what i did happened in highschool. i lost everything and now want to die. i am planning on committing suicide. i always wanted to work with the police when i am older but now i am a threat to the community and to everyone including my family and friends according to the police and social services. i am going completely mental i only speak to my new imaginary friends that i made 2 months ago. i have always done so much to make the community a better place to stay in. i feed the homeless i donate hundreds of pounds a year to charity, i always help those who needed help and i used to make everyone around me happy. now i have got to that point i am scared to talk to anyone face to face, i am scared of going outside my own house and leaving my room. i have done something that i did not know was illegal because i seen others do it as if i did not see the indecent images on that forum i would of not even got the idea of using them. i saw o
helpme - 28-Feb-17 @ 5:49 PM
Hi my boyfriend is just turn 17 and when he was 16 he got into a fight and left a mark on the lad but I'm so scared as it's his second time in court and I don't want him to get sent down his court date is in 2 days and of he gets sent down I be upset as I'm pregnant I'm so worried
Lilly1998 - 27-Feb-17 @ 8:04 AM
Hi my 16 year old daughter was having a confrontation with police when they drove passed my daughter said to wpc(so I've been told ) you think you hard with uniform on so see he removed her stab vest and utility belt and told my daughter to come on the grass (field) my daughter was shocked and scared and started to shout at wpc you supposed to protect us. The wpc then put uniform back on and walked up to her and said you under a rest for drunk and disorderlyis this abuse of powers I put in complaint but wasn't happy with the outcome I have video evidence my 16 tear old 4foot 4 daughter against some butch female officer. She got charged I /we refused to go yop got date for court then we got notice of discontinue but I thinkpolice should have to appoligise or pay composition for false areat
steve - 24-Feb-17 @ 4:29 PM
Alie - Your Question:
I spent 3 hours in the police station whilst my 15 year old was questioned under caution for several incidents in december. I was mortified and still am. I am not sure what, if anything or when something will happen from this? He has not yet been charged or further questioned or heard anything further from the police. He is 16 in a few weeks and I do wonder if this may be a reason for the wait. I am worried off the impact on his future. He has had very challenging behaviour since he was little and I do feel very let down by services an no support for him or us as his family. I am unsure what to do or where to turn for help as I have little success to date with this so have no faith in services sadly.

Our Response:
There are some organisations that might be able to help you such as Family Lives
CivilRightsMovement - 24-Feb-17 @ 1:47 PM
I spent 3 hours in the police station whilst my 15 year old was questioned under caution for several incidents in december. I was mortified and still am. I am not sure what, if anything or when something will happen from this? He has not yet been charged or further questioned or heard anything further from the police.He is 16 in a few weeks and I do wonder if this may be a reason for the wait. I am worried off the impact on his future. He has had very challenging behaviour since he was little and I do feel very let down by services an no support for him or us as his family. I am unsure what to do or where to turn for help as I have little success to date with this so have no faith in services sadly.
Alie - 22-Feb-17 @ 9:45 PM
My 14 yr old son is being accused of misconduct with his half sisters kids. This is a first never heard of him ever doing something like that. Police want to question him. But what I don't understand is there saying he's being arrested when an investigation hasn't been conducted.From being accused to being arrested. His first offence. A warrant hasn't been shown to me yet. I feel there should be a warrant before I bring him in. They want to put him in the system first than investigate. ( I've never been in trouble with the police before. This all new to me. ) They want me to bring him in to the preceint for questioning but they say there gonna arrest him. I'm confused. Please help.
Lost for words - 11-Feb-17 @ 10:08 AM
My 16 yr old daughter made an allegation about a man grooming her, her phone showed there was also her bus driver who did things - we called the police. The offences dated back to before she was 16. At the same time her siblings also came out about things she was doing to them and they made a complaint to the police about it. Next thing we know, she gets arrested and taken to a children's home, because of the safety of the siblings apparently. But they have let her go back to school where a sibling is and friends of both suspects! Child services have told us more detail than the police, who I feel are being unfair as they haven't given us contact details for the dealing officer or anything, the police didn't even tell me she had been bailed for a month! I only have the social workers name and number, no way of contacting my daughter who is probably really scared and confused, I can only pass messages to her social worker. We do have family legal insurance, is there something I should be doing? (I've only ever been on the good side of the law so this is all new to me)!
Confused.com - 10-Feb-17 @ 1:11 PM
My 16 yr old daughter made an allegation about a man grooming her, her phone showed there was also her bus driver who did things - we called the police. The offences dated back to before she was 16. At the same time her siblings also came out about things she was doing to them and they made a complaint to the police about it. Next thing we know, she gets arrested and taken to a children's home, because of the safety of the siblings apparently. But they have let her go back to school where a sibling is and friends of both suspects! Child services have told us more detail than the police, who I feel are being unfair as they haven't given us contact details for the dealing officer or anything, the police didn't even tell me she had been bailed for a month! I only have the social workers name and number, no way of contacting my daughter who is probably really scared and confused, I can only pass messages to her social worker. We do have family legal insurance, is there something I should be doing? (I've only ever been on the good side of the law so this is all new to me)!
Confused.com - 10-Feb-17 @ 10:44 AM
I was arrested for giving my friend a lift on a moped without a helmet, I'm aware this is illegal but do the police have the right to tell my school? They have told my school but haven't contacted my parents to tell them and I'm sure they need to tell my parents asap?
Yeah boiiiiii - 25-Jan-17 @ 12:35 PM
My son is 10years old and pushed a boy at school. He is now having to go to the police station to be charged with assault. What advice can you give me and what can happen to him ?
Worriedmum - 13-Jan-17 @ 10:47 AM
If a 16 year old girl got a £80 pound fine for dropping a cigarette button the floor but she picked up but she still got the fine they given 14 days to pay it but she didn't and they give her another week to pay. She's not in education or have a job, what will happen to her?
Mel - 9-Jan-17 @ 3:29 PM
Worriedmom81 - Your Question:
Hi the police have just knocked my door asking me to take my son in for an interview.He is 13 and kicked a boy in the head at school.what will happen and will this affect him trying to obtain a job as an adult.

Our Response:
Can you tell us what you need to know that isn't in the above article and we'll try and clarify.
CivilRightsMovement - 6-Jan-17 @ 11:03 AM
Hi the police have just knocked my door asking me to take my son in for an interview .He is 13 and kicked a boy in the head at school.what will happen and will this affect him trying to obtain a job as an adult .
Worriedmom81 - 5-Jan-17 @ 12:33 PM
I am 16 years old,my mum has kicked me out of the house for a stupid reason,she hasn't given me any money,however she's receiving benefits by saying I live with her,she been saying is only me and her living in the house however that's not true,I been living with others in the house for years,I been living uncomfortable and never have my own space,my mum is so irresponsible with the friends that she chooses that I already been raped when I was 3 years old and been tried to b raped a lot of times by my own family and my mum's friends.Someone help me,I don't know what to do
Julietadies - 31-Dec-16 @ 7:04 PM
A friend's son was recently arrested for a serious crime. She received no support from any services. As a result, I am now doing Uni research on parents experiences when their child is arrested for a serious crime. Currently looking for parents who may be interested inparticipating in research.
PWB - 29-Dec-16 @ 7:17 PM
My son was,arrested for a burgulary at the time he was in a chip shop with two other friends..he,was taken to the police station and detained for 20 hours he is,18..what are my rights as this is discrimination
Shaza - 24-Dec-16 @ 6:38 AM
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Latest Comments
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