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

Rights If Your Child is Arrested

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 7 Feb 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]
My son has been charged with robbery by breaking into a house can he go to jail at adult court or kid court?
Non - 5-Feb-16 @ 9:25 PM
Kwak - Your Question:
My 15 yr old son was just excluded from school for head butting another boy I have been informed that the other boys parents are looking to press charges. In my sons defence the other boy has been calling him names and pushing for weeks today he was called some horrendous names due to my child's parentage. What are we to expect now? Will my son be arrested and what will he be charged with. We are having very serious problems at home in which my son has had to attend court to give evidence in a very serious offence case that has really affected him, he has never been in trouble before and isn't coping at all. I think this is the reason for his anger at the minute (not an excuse but a reason!) what should I do?

Our Response:
Make an appointment to see the school head or welfare officer. Explain about your son's home circumstances and what he's been going through - and that he was provoked into this by the other boy's bullying. If the other parent does decide to take action, at least you will have it all documented by the school. You may also find that they will be supportive of your son once he returns to school.
CivilRightsMovement - 3-Feb-16 @ 12:42 PM
My 15 yr old son was just excluded from school for head butting another boy I have been informed that the other boys parents are looking to press charges. In my sons defence the other boy has been calling him names and pushing for weeks today he was called some horrendous names due to my child's parentage. What are we to expect now?Will my son be arrested and what will he be charged with. We are having very serious problems at home in which my son has had to attend court to give evidence in a very serious offence case that has really affected him, he has never been in trouble before and isn't coping at all. I think this is the reason for his anger at the minute (not an excuse but a reason!)what should I do?
Kwak - 2-Feb-16 @ 1:41 PM
My friend who is 12 was talking to boy who is 15 and then she started dirty talking and he joinend in can my friend be arrested
jrkel3k - 24-Jan-16 @ 2:58 PM
My 15 year old son and his 2 friends were visiting aclassmate the 3 boys started throwingrocks hitting the neighbors house. The police came and issued them all citations for criminal mischief. Ask the classmates parent if he wanted the boys to remain there or to leave. The officer told the boys they had to leave and to make sure to inform their parents of the citation And left the boys walking. I got a call the next day from the police informing me we would be receiving a summons. I got the summons in the mail and the police complaint claimed my child was arrested. In Ohio if a child gets a citation is he considered arrested on a formal complaint? Also the police document stated he was released to a parent or gaurdian when he was not the officer made the boys leave the residence on foot. I don't know if his case can be dismissed he to improper documents filed by the officer. Can anyone tell me?
Huhp - 15-Jan-16 @ 4:42 PM
I went into my parents room to get a tissue and my dad said that I had taken loads of stuff and I haven't and if he finds even 1 tissue missing he will report me to the police for theft I have NEVER taken any of my dads stuff just cause it got accidently knocked down is he allowed to report me to the police for theft I'm 14
Rhona - 10-Jan-16 @ 12:37 AM
I was arrested on suspision of breaking into a house im only 14 I was walking to ma mates house and the police handcuffed me stiff and told me why was I running away from them when I was walking just on the path with ma mate they took him as well the police man said that it was me when ever I didnt do any harm I was searched and asked questions then put in a cell for 3 long hours. after that a women came and said that im free because the victim said it wasent me. I hope for any of you out there that dosent happen I still feel scared of the police till now when ever I should feel safe. When ever I think about the case I start shaking that has ruined me and im now scared of the people who should keep me safe.
Dave - 13-Dec-15 @ 10:03 PM
mockingbird how did you get on with your complaint against the police?.
GB - 11-Dec-15 @ 2:02 PM
ang - Your Question:
My 14 year old son has been charged with common assault. It has to go to court. Police say I don't need to pay for a solicitor I don't understand why I dont

Our Response:
No he'll automatically get legal aid for legal representation in court as he's under 16.
CivilRightsMovement - 10-Dec-15 @ 11:06 AM
My 14 year old son has been charged with common assault. It has to go to court. Police say I don't need to pay for a solicitor I don't understand why I dont
ang - 9-Dec-15 @ 9:16 AM
my grandson was arrested today , he is 15 , his half sister has claimed he has touched her where he shouldn't , she is 10 an I dont believe he has for one nano second , he was arrested at quarter past 4 today an we have not heard anything , we dont know what is happening if he has been charged , if he has a solicitor nothing , I have tried ringing the station an was told someone would ring my daughter an tell her what is happening , that was at half six an still she has not heard anything , an here we are at half nine an nothing
angrynan - 2-Dec-15 @ 9:32 PM
Izzie Izz - Your Question:
One of my friends who is 13 was caught sending nudes to one of his classmates after school at home to the girls iPad and her parents found out. They went to the school and they are planning to get him arrested. How long would he be arrested? Can he be arrested or just taken into custody? Will it be on his record and will he be able to join college football?

Our Response:
13 is old enough to be arrested in the UK. Usually, the police in conjunction with the school will decide what action to take.
CivilRightsMovement - 2-Dec-15 @ 10:44 AM
One of my friends who is 13 was caught sending nudes to one of his classmates after school at home to the girls iPad and her parents found out. They went to the school and they are planning to get him arrested. How long would he be arrested? Can he be arrested or just taken into custody? Will it be on his record and will he be able to join college football?
Izzie Izz - 30-Nov-15 @ 6:28 PM
Can the police question a 16 year old student in their own home without a parent there? And yes it is a about an offence of vandalism that happened
scaredmum - 25-Nov-15 @ 7:51 PM
I was told by the school in UK where my daughter is in full time education that a group of girls where going to be spoken to at school by the local police officer, but when my daughter was called in, there was no group and it was her, police officer, and a lady from student services, as my child is only 13yrs old, I was informed about a group discussion but not a one to one style chat, should I have been informed that this was going on and given the choice to be present or is this acceptable, advice please.
Gill - 17-Nov-15 @ 1:15 PM
Hello, My 16 year old daughter was arrested for holding a knife whilst arguing and in her defence going after her attacker but did not injure anyone whilst she herself was injured. She has a social worker as a guardian and cannot return home where she was attacked. What should I do to get her out of prison and what are the consequences if she is charged in court with this attack?
PG. - 15-Oct-15 @ 11:19 PM
My 15 yr old daughter, is being charged this evening for what is classed as racist abuse "go back to where you came from nobody likes you here" a fall out with a friend who had moved from England to Scotland. She meant this as go back pure & simple nothing racist. I questioned this with police officer but he said nothing i can do she is being charged. Very annoyed
Deb-s - 6-Oct-15 @ 1:12 PM
My 17 year old nephew was assaulted by a 40 year old man at a taxi rank, the man got out of a taxi punching him in the face. Stupidly his 3 friends jumped into the fight and all 4 boys were arrested, held in police cells and went to court today, now charged with serious assault. All of the above on cctv. As it was a closed court we have no idea what happens next. My nephew has never been in trouble of any kind before. Unfortunately he is a black belt in martial arts and was part of the Scotland team. Will this be taken into account and how can we find out further details. We attempted to speak to the duty solicitor to no avail and all my nephew was told by the solicitor was that he was being charged. We don't know whether or not a plea of guilty or not guilty was submitted or whether or not we can press charges against the 40 year old for the I ritual unprovoked attack. We have been left completely in the dark with no information. Obviously we have never dealt with anything like this before and have no idea of procedures
Gock - 5-Oct-15 @ 6:53 PM
I was arrested the other day for my next door neighbour said that I hit her in the face and said they was blood I am 17 and I am out on bail I really am confused and worried because I didn't do what she said I did they told me I was just going in for a statement but they arrested me can anyone tell me anything about this asap
Leahjade626 - 2-Oct-15 @ 10:49 PM
My 16 year old daughter was arrested last night for apparently hitting her boyfriend in the street. The police rugby tackled him down to the floor and when my daughter shouted to them what are you doing that's myoyfriend they arrested her. They refused to let me see her and she is being taken to court this morning.They also refused for me to be able to speak to a duty solicitor or even give me a phone number so that. She has never been in any trouble with the police and I dont understand why she was kept in overnight for play fighting with her boyfriend. This happend in Scotland
Gill - 28-Sep-15 @ 7:16 AM
My 11 year old step daughter keeps stealing money from the whole family. She has taken around £300 in total,this includes emptying her little brother and sisters savings moneyboxes which were both hidden. I called the local PCSO last year who came with another PCSO to speak to her aboit it tjinkong this would frighten her but this has made no difference, in fact shes got worse since. I want to call the police and get her arrested to teach her a lesson as today I have found another £60 gone! She isnt bothered and just gives attitude when we speak about it to her and im at my wits end with her. I would like to know what I can do about this please.
Sweep1976 - 20-Sep-15 @ 8:13 PM
My 15 yr old son is in the first stage of an asbo n will b arrested later today for robbery I have a feeling this is not gonna pan out well ??
Holster - 9-Sep-15 @ 8:50 AM
Voice of concern - Your Question:
My 13 year old daughter and her friends decided to break into her own house while her parents were on holiday. They planned together (group social media chat) to open the window just before the weekend, sneak out and meet at the friends parents house the next day. They did succeed in opening the window, but never went back the following night. It was too late though, word had circulated and people turned up, broke in and wrecked this woman's house. ( none of the girls were present)When the parents returned from their holidays, my daughter and theirs,along with any others involved In the group chat were cautioned by the police and now face a children's panel. My daughter in all her short life has never ever stepped a foot wrong or out of place. I am concerned for her and worry. What are the implications ? Has she ruined her life before it has even begun? What can I do as a parent. I feel helpless.

Our Response:
We assume you're in Scotland (or at least not in England as there are no Children's Panels in England). The philosophy behind the children's panel is that it is not about punishment but what is in the best interests of the child. The panel consists of volunteers and is meant to be completely non-judgemental - a way of finding a solution to a problem. A decision will usually be made there and then with no private discussion between the panel members. The fact that your daughter is mortified suggests that it's not the kind of thing she'd usually be involved with and will probably think twice about in future. This is unlikely to go on any long lasting records and should not have any lasting implications.
CivilRightsMovement - 4-Sep-15 @ 11:47 AM
My 13 year old daughter and her friends decided to break into her own house while her parents were on holiday. They planned together (group social media chat) to open the window just before the weekend, sneak out and meet at the friends parents house the next day. They did succeed in opening the window, but never went back the following night. It was too late though, word had circulated and people turned up, broke in and wrecked this woman's house. ( none of the girls were present) When the parents returned from their holidays, my daughter and theirs,along with any others involved In the group chat were cautioned by the police and now face a children's panel.My daughter in all her short life has never ever stepped a foot wrong or out of place. I am concerned for her and worry. What are the implications ? Has she ruined her life before it has even begun? What can I do as a parent. I feel helpless.
Voice of concern - 3-Sep-15 @ 7:30 PM
emmalou - Your Question:
My ten yr old has been accused if smashing a car window with a stone by accident. He says he does not know if it was him or not as he and his friends were all throwing stones. Police say they have cctv and a witness. He has been asked to attend a voluntary interview tomorrow. What can happen. Hes suffering with anxiety because of it.

Our Response:
Most likely he will be given a warning. Tell him to stay calm and tell the truth. At the age of 10 it's unlikely that any serious action will be taken over this if it was genuinely an accident.
CivilRightsMovement - 27-Aug-15 @ 9:32 AM
My half brother is 16 year's old and seriously he is the definition of "OUT OF CONTROL!" my mom has loaded countless of job's because of his behavior and getting in trouble his fighting at school at home etc!! She's going to have a nervous breakdown down or worse if something isn't done! I have tried helping wit him, by just talking with him taking him when he becomes angry at her. Nothing works!! What is something she can do to get help for him and help for his behavior issues before it becomes something he can't undo!
Lizzie - 26-Aug-15 @ 10:58 PM
My ten yr old has been accused if smashing a car window with a stone by accident. He says he does not know if it was him or not as he and his friends were all throwing stones. Police say they have cctv and a witness. He has been asked to attend a voluntary interview tomorrow. What can happen. Hes suffering with anxiety because of it.
emmalou - 24-Aug-15 @ 8:05 PM
If an adult has been hit by a person under 18 and retaliates what will be the consiquences? Could the adult be charged for hitting a minor? Thanks
Mary - 11-Aug-15 @ 4:46 PM
My 16 year old daughter was arrested for possession of cannabis but was not charged or given a caution. She did however have her fingerpints, photo and dna taken. Neither she or her mother gave permission for this. How do I have this information retracted?
Dave - 1-Aug-15 @ 1:23 PM
My 14 yr son has just been charged with racial.The man accused him of robbery and possesing a knife which turned out to be a complete lie as cctv was shown to the police..The man kept arguing with my son and saying 'come here and say that" and "do you fancy"?me to which my son replied no you are fat and ugly..Other bits were said and then my son called him a paki..The guy called police abd said my feelings are hurt as im Indian and my son was thrown to the floor and arrested..He has been charged with the racial bit..Im devastated he is devastated...I really dont think having spoken to him that he realised it was wrong to call him that..I even bought him an iphone 6 earlier and one of the ring tones was called paki man...he hears it all the time...Wot will happen to him?He should be punished but court etc is a bit harsh for first time offence especially as we know of this man and he is NOT offended by the word paki and ive heard him call others it.
Beau - 21-Jul-15 @ 7:13 AM
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