MAKE SURE YOU KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
IF YOU'RE STOPPED AND SEARCHED......
* Stay calm. Give your correct name and address.
* The police can search you without an arrest if they have 'reasonable grounds' to suspect you of an offence. Before the search, ask what they're looking for and why they suspect you, and get their names and police station - they have to give you this information.
* They can search everyone in a certain area for weapons, to prevent violence, but they must tell you that's what they're doing.
* They can only search your outer clothes in public. Any other search must be in a van or police station.
* The police must make a written record of the search. Be sure you ask for a copy. You can get it from the police station up to a year later. It can be useful evidence of harassment.
* If they don't have grounds for a statutory (compulsory) search they can ask to do a voluntary one, as long as you are 17 or older. They must tell you it's voluntary, and you can refuse.
* Afterwards write down everything you remember. Include officers' numbers and vehicles registration numbers. Get witnesses to do the same.
IF YOU ARE ARRESTED......
* The police must say you're under arrest and why they're arresting you. If you haven't been arrested you don't have to go to the police station. Don't discuss anything, don't admit to anything, and don't answer any questions on the way to the station.
* At the station give your name, date of birth and address, or you won't be able to get bail if you need it. (However - the police can search your address without a warrant while you're under arrest.)
* You've got the right to a solicitor to advise you and be present when you're questioned. This is free. Phone one of the solicitors' numbers on this card. If you don't have their names or numbers you can ask for the duty solicitor.
* Don't say anything or sign anything until you've talked to a solicitor. If the police delay you getting a solicitor you still don't have to say anything.
* Don't accept a caution or a formal warning until you've talked to a solicitor. A caution goes on your record and means you admit you're guilty.
* As well as free legal advice, you have the right to have a friend or relative informed of your arrest.
* If you're under 17 the police can't question you until a parent/guardian is present - but get a solicitor as well.
* If you don't speak English you have the right to an interpreter. If the police ask about immigration status, give your name, address and nationality. Don't say anything else until you've got legal advice.
* If you're handicapped or have mental health problems, you can have a social worker, signer etc. present.
* If you've been injured, ask for medical attention.
* You have a right to silence when you're questioned. The police may say you'll be found guilty if you don't answer. This isn't true. Don't say anything until you've talked to a solicitor.
* Don't agree to give samples or go on an ID parade, before get legal you've checked with a solicitor.
* Refuse to make or sign a written statement until you've spoken to a solicitor, even if the solicitor was there when the statement was taken down.
* The details of your arrest should be on your Custody Record. You're entitled to a copy after you've left the station. Tell your solicitor if you think anything in it's wrong.
* Normally the police can only keep you up to 24 hours without charging you. It can be up to 36 hours in special circumstances - longer with permission from a court.
IF THE POLICE SEARCH YOUR HOME......
* If the police want to search your home find out if they have a search warrant and what the reason is. They have to give you a copy of the warrant, as well as information on your rights. Try and make sure you or someone else witness the search.
* However, the police can do a search without giving you this information if you're absent or if giving you warning would undermine the purpose of the search - but they must leave you a copy of the warrant.
* They can search your house without a warrant to arrest someone, or after someone living there has been arrested, or to save life.
IF YOU'RE ARRESTED ON A DEMONSTRATION....
* Shout out your name so witnesses can get details and see you get support quickly.
AFTER AN ARREST OR A SEARCH......
* If you're injured get to a doctor or hospital quickly. Get injuries recorded and photographed.
* Get any damage to your home or property witnessed and photographed.
* Get your documents, notes, witness statements safely together
GETTING A SOLICITOR
If you have been arrested, or if you or your friends have had trouble with the police, you must get reliable legal advice as soon as possible. Phone one of these numbers to get a solicitor to give you advice or come to the police station where you are being held:
0836 780 109 (Fisher Meredith)
0171 833 4433 (Bindmans)
IF YOU WITNESS POLICE HARASSMENT......
* Don't pass on by. Sticking together is the best way to defeat police harassment. But stay calm and avoid provoking the police into arresting you.
* If possible get other people to join you to witness what is happening - in general you can do more if you have a number of people with you, and you will be less likely to get arrested.
* Note the shoulder numbers of the officers involved and the registration numbers of any police vehicles. If you can, write down as much as possible at the time. If not, do it as soon as possible afterwards.
* If possible get someone to take photographs.
* Ask the person/people being harassed if he or she (or they) are alright, and if they need any help. If possible get their names.
* If anyone is arrested try to find out what police station they are being taken to. Contact friends or relatives of the person arrested, and make sure some people go to the police station and contact a solicitor.
* Ask witnesses to write down what they have seen and to give you (or the victim's family/solicitor) their names, addresses and telephone numbers.
* Get a report of the incident to the Movement for Justice as soon as possible, using one of the phone numbers at the back of this card.
ORGANISING COMMUNITY RESISTANCE......
Police harassment and racism are a daily fact of life, in black, Asian and working class areas - especially for youth. Large sections of our communities are regularly treated like criminals. It leads to the situation where black people die at the hands of the police and nothing is done. The courts and the politicians are no protection. The police are given more and more powers, which means more racism, harassment and brutality. We need to know our rights so that we don't lose them, and so that are in a better position to defend ourselves and our communities - but we can only win our rights and get any justice if we are organised.
* Contact the Movement for Justice and get together a group of people in your area who will report and publicise police harassment and racism, and start to organise practical support for people who are the victims of harassment or injustice.
* Take a bundle of these leaflets, and the Movement for Justice 'bust cards', and give them to your friends. Get people to put up notices in your area with Movement for Justice and solicitors' phone numbers.
* Exchange phone numbers with people in your area who are prepared to come together if a group of monitors or witnesses is needed, or to go to the police station if someone needs support.
We have to organise to stop police harassment and campaign against injustice and racism. If you want to do something about problems of police harassment that you have experienced or which other people in your area are suffering, contact the Movement for Justice on:
0410 486 202 or 0976 916 956
This information is taken from the Movement for Justice legal rights card and checked by our lawyers - to get your copy contact us. Print this out and keep it - you never know when you might need it.