Police powers of arrest: your rights (UK)
To arrest you the police need reasonable grounds to suspect you’re involved in a crime for which your arrest is necessary.
The police have powers to arrest you anywhere and at any time, including on the street, at home or at work.
The rules are different in Scotland.
The police arrest procedure
If you’re arrested the police must:
- identify themselves as the police
- tell you that you’re being arrested
- tell you what crime they think you’ve committed
- explain why it’s necessary to arrest you
- explain to you that you’re not free to leave
If you’re under 18 the police should only arrest you at school if it’s unavoidable, and they must inform your headteacher.
The police must also contact your parents, guardian or carer as soon as possible after your arrival at the police station.
Police powers to use reasonable force
If you try to escape or become violent, the police can use ‘reasonable force’, for example holding you down so you cannot run off.
You can also be handcuffed.
The police have powers to search you when you’re arrested.
Last updated: 1 August 2020