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Rights If Your Child is Arrested

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 11 Feb 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]
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
My friend is going to "jail" because she hit her parents and apparently it's ok for parents to hit children but not ok for children to hit parents. Is she actually going to jail?
Aidheapens - 21-Dec-16 @ 3:05 AM
Can a child under 17 be arrested and charged with distributing an indecent photo of another child the same age without their permission and for malicious reasons??
Mf - 2-Dec-16 @ 10:08 PM
My 14 year old daughter has been arrested and takin to runcorn police station for drunk and disordly I live in huyton got no way to get there what do I do
jo - 2-Dec-16 @ 7:46 PM
Hi my niece is16 and was arrested at like 430 pm for stealing at target me or her mother have not spoken with her or the police they didn't even call to say she was arrested target called before the. Cops even got there and the cops still haven't let her call or called us and it's now the 3:30am as I am writing this is this legal cause she hasn't had a call or neither did the police call me
Tasha - 29-Nov-16 @ 8:31 AM
my sisters have said that i sexual abused them as kids ages 7-9 iwas about 12-14 it was in the 70s and as i see it inapropate behaveiour as a adult at 52 now could they have me charged with sexual assault , i did not know this was wrong at the time it was just touching and simulated sex . i know that sounds bad but i was akid at the time and did not know any better i am now just sitting here waiting for the police to turn up please can you advise me about this .
pdc - 20-Nov-16 @ 1:41 PM
My son's currently been held over 8 hours he's been interviewed 2 hours ago the cps are deciding what to do when do they have to let him go
Jonarch - 17-Nov-16 @ 10:07 PM
Wozzac - Your Question:
My 14 yr old son was arrested for allegedly threatening another child with a knife and demanding their phone and money of which he got neither.where does he stand if he is charged with this and found guilty what will the courts do to him? Will he be locked up?

Our Response:
We don't know how this will be viewed but knife crime is viewed very seriously by the police/courts. More information is available here
CivilRightsMovement - 10-Nov-16 @ 12:55 PM
My 14 yr old son was arrested for allegedly threatening another child with a knife and demanding their phone and money of which he got neither.where does he stand if heis charged with this and found guilty what will the courts do to him? Will he be locked up?.
Wozzac - 9-Nov-16 @ 10:38 PM
My 15 year old son was arrested for something that someone else did. At the time of the arrest one copper slammed in to the bonnet and punched him in the back which was seen by numerous people. How do I go about reporting this further than the police ?
Lw - 26-Oct-16 @ 11:26 PM
My son is 10 and was handcuffed and takes to the police station before I was ever informed. Is this legal
Me - 20-Oct-16 @ 11:40 PM
My 14 year old son has jusy beeen arrested for killing an adult but it was in self defence. The other adult tried to attack him with a knife and my son stabbed him in defence. What can happen to him ?
mmary - 20-Oct-16 @ 7:35 PM
If my child was arrested for hitting me .. Shouldn't I be informed of her charges still and is it ok that the judge the next day at her first and so far only court date so far we had ordered drug assesmemts for her to go to in jdc juveniledetention place they are holding her right now at ..she hasn't been sentenced or anything or had an actual court date other than the day after she got into trouble and that was just to determine if she gets out or not but still is order her to do drug classes when she's never been in trouble or far as I know drugs but is ordered that
Kim - 20-Oct-16 @ 2:35 AM
Can a case be time barred after ten years? Or, is it until the victim turns 18 and has a maximum of three years to bring the case.
Shay - 14-Oct-16 @ 8:33 PM
my 14 year old daughter has had to give her fingerprints in.She is getting charged with assult but the girl was claiming she was hurt but ther was no prood to show she was hurt and yet my daughter was not involved, the police also have 2 statements that are saying she is involved, shes got court coming up soon, what can happen
khaaan - 3-Oct-16 @ 10:56 PM
Lemon - Your Question:
My 14 year old step daughter has been accused of sexual assault on her female friend they are no longer friends this accusation came about months after they fell out, she is not guilty but the police are saying they'll arrest her to interview her is this the cAse ?

Our Response:
She can be arrested if the police feel there are sufficient grounds to do so as she is above the age of criminal responsibility. She can be asked to attend a voluntary interview rather than being arrested.
CivilRightsMovement - 27-Sep-16 @ 10:24 AM
My brother is 17 years old, he was arrested for having a warrant because he didn't show up to a court he had. He had been living in Colorado by himself for about 2 years. Our mom lives in Mexico and I live In Washington. I have a permission document letter that says I am in charge of him. Will this help me get him out?? Im 22 by the way..
Lizanette - 25-Sep-16 @ 10:13 PM
My 14 year old step daughter has been accused of sexual assault on her female friend they are no longer friends this accusation came about months after they fell out,she is not guilty but the police are saying they'll arrest her to interview her is this the cAse ?
Lemon - 25-Sep-16 @ 10:19 AM
CK - Your Question:
My 12 year old step brother got mad at my grandmother, so he decided he was going to set paper on fire and place it under one of the cars next to our house before he got on the school bus. There was also a propane tank close by the car. I know he intended to try and kill us all by blowing us up. He has also hit my grandmother multiple times and she has cancer. His mother refuses to do anything about it. Is there anything that the police can do?

Our Response:
Yes - at 12 your brother is above the minimum age of criminal responsibility. The polcie should be made aware of this kind of behaviour...both the violence/domestic abuse and the arson.
CivilRightsMovement - 23-Sep-16 @ 2:17 PM
My 12 year old step brother got mad at my grandmother, so he decided he was going to set paper on fire and place it under one of the cars next to our house before he got on the school bus. There was also a propane tank close by the car. I know he intended to try and kill us all by blowing us up. He has also hit my grandmother multiple times and she has cancer. His mother refuses to do anything about it. Is there anything that the police can do?
CK - 22-Sep-16 @ 12:11 PM
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