What to do if you are arrested

Following the arrest of an anti-cuts activist, we thought it would be useful to post here the advice we normally give out on demonstrations, in case there are any further arrests. Hopefully you won´t need it, but it´s best to be prepared.

On arrest, stay calm. If there isn´t someone nearby who knows you, it helps if you shout out the name you’ll be giving to the police, so the campaign can find you later. (If you WITNESS an arrest, note down the person’s name, exact time and place, arresting officer’s number(s), and anything else you see, and hand it in to a steward or legal observer or email it to defence.campaign@gmail.com)


  • To know what you’ve been arrested for – ask!
  • If the police wish to charge you or interview you, to contact and consult YOUR CHOICE of solicitor, free. We strongly advise against using the duty solicitor.
  • To have someone notified that you’ve been arrested. Please let the campaign team (07858 346 276) know!
  • To remain silent. The police may tell you that it can be held against you in court if you choose not to answer any questions, if that happens you can instruct your solicitor to advise you to answer ´no comment´.

WE STRONGLY ADVISE: Answer all interview questions with “NO COMMENT”, and DON’T WRITE OR SIGN A STATEMENT. If in doubt, SAY NOTHING and ask your solicitor. The only info you have to give the police after arrest is YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS.

It is now standard practice for the police to take photos, fingerprints and DNA samples from everyone they arrest, even if they are not charged. You have the right to refuse consent, but they are then permitted to use ‘reasonable’ force. One option is to refuse consent but to not physically resist. They may also ask you for loads of personal details for their records – you don’t have to answer, so don’t!

Please authorise the police to reveal info about your detention & welfare to the campaign on request.

When you’re released, let the campaign (07858 346 276) know you’re out! It’s also useful to write up your own account of events as soon as possible after your release, for future court cases etc.

If you’re in for a while and need cell support, or if you’re let out in the middle of the night with no way to get home, try these numbers:

07858 346 276

These are only intended as some brief pointers, a good source of further information is http://greenandblackcross.org/legal


One Response to What to do if you are arrested

  1. Andrew Gray says:

    According to the Activists Legal Project, a change in August 2008 limits the right to free legal advice in a police station, particularly if you are not interviewed and have been arrested for a non-imprisonable offence (like obstruction of highway or most minor public order offences). See http://www.activistslegalproject.org.uk/right%20to%20legal%20advice%20at%20police%20station.1.pdf for details (they have good briefings in the resources section of their website too).

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