ITANONG SA MANGAGAMOT
What to do when you get
This is a rough guide to
your basic rights on arrest. Remember that you have the right to be treated
fairly and with respect by the police.
When you are arrested you do not have to say anything to the police. BUT if
you are later charged with a crime and you have not mentioned, when
questioned, something that you later rely on in court, then this may be
taken into account when deciding if you are guilty.
See our suggested response in the caution section There may be good reasons
why you do not wish to say anything to the police, and you should not be
intimidated into answering questions. Get a lawyer down to see you in the
police station as soon as possible.
There may be times when if you give an innocent explanation for what you
have done, the police may leave you alone.
It is wise not to discuss the case with the police until you have consulted
privately with a lawyer.
If the police are about to arrest you or have already arrested you, there is
no such thing as a 'friendly chat' to sort things out. Anything you say can
later be used against you. Think before you talk.
ON THE STREET
If you are stopped by the police: (if they are not in uniform then
ask to see their warrant card.)
Ask why you have been stopped and at the end ask for a record of the search.
You can be stopped and searched if the police have a reasonable suspicion
that you are in possession of:
offensive weapon or firearms
carrying a sharp article
carrying stolen goods
if you are in a coach or train, going to, or you have arrived at, a sports
There are other situations where you can be stopped and searched, for
example: If police fear there might be serious violence in a particular area
they can stop and search anyone in that area for up to 24 hours. In these
circumstances the police do not need to have a reasonable suspicion that you
are carrying a weapon or committing a crime. This very wide power can be
used at raves, demonstrations etc.
you run the risk of both physical injury and serious criminal charges if you
physically resist a search. If it is an unlawful search you should take
action afterwards by using the law.
IN THE POLICE STATION
You always have the right:
to be treated humanely and with respect.
to see the written codes governing your rights and how you are treated.
to speak to the custody officer (the officer who must look after your
to know why you have been arrested
You also have the right (but they can in rare situations be delayed):
to have someone notified of your arrest (not to make a phone call yourself).
to consult with a lawyer privately.
Do not panic. You cannot be locked up indefinitely. The police sometimes
keep you isolated and waiting in the cell to 'soften you up'. Above all
else, try to keep calm. The police can only keep you for a certain period of
time - normally a maximum of 24 hours (36 hours for a serious arrestable
Make sure the correct time for your arrest is on the custody record.
Make sure you know why you have been arrested.
Insist on seeing a lawyer (you might have to wait, but it's always free).
Ask them to be present when you are interviewed. Do not be put off seeing a
lawyer by the police. It is your right and it's free.
If you ask for anything and it is refused make sure this is written down on
the custody record.
We strongly recommend that you:
make "no comment" to all questions
don't write a statement
don't sign a statement written by the police
don't sign any police book
...until you have seen a lawyer
AT A DEMO/FOOTBALL MATCH
Police can often get the wrong person in the heat of the moment where there
are big crowds present, so it is important that you get witnesses to your
If you are arrested in a crowd, keep calm, and shout out your name so people
can know who it is being arrested.
If you witness an arrest, try to write down the name of the arrested person
and where they were arrested. Write down the number of the arresting
If you are thrown out of a football ground unfairly without arrest, insist
on talking to a senior officer to state your case, or go to the local
station to lodge a formal complaint. If you didn't get the arresting
officers number, ask to be escorted back into the ground to identify him.
It's not uncommon for the police to quietly let you back in if they know you
are serious about making a complaint.
A common trick police employ is to badger you into accepting a caution so
that you can catch your last bus home. Do not accept this under any
circumstances if you have done nothing wrong.
SEARCH OF YOUR HOME
The police can search premises with the consent of the occupier.
A warrant can be obtained from magistrates by the police to search premises
for evidence of certain crimes.
The police can enter premises WITHOUT a search warrant in many situations,
following an arrest, the police are allowed to search premises the detained
person occupies or has control over.
to capture an escaped prisoner
to arrest someone for an arrestable offence or certain public order
to protect life or to stop serious damage to property.
other laws give police specific powers to enter premises.
You are entitled to see a copy of any search warrant.
Police can use reasonable force to gain entry
Police should give you information about their powers to search premises.
A record of the search must be kept by the police.
You or a friend should be allowed to be present during the search but this
right can be refused if it is thought it might hinder investigations.
When police seize items from you or your house be sure to insist on a
written list of all seized items then and there.
NEW POLICE CAUTION
"You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not
mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything
you do say may be given in evidence."
"I have been advised that I should answer no questions. It is not right that
I should have to give a complete case for my self until charges have been
made and properly explained and until there are other people around to check
that questions put to me are fair and legal. I will say nothing until I am
advised to do so by a fully qualified legal advisor".
IMPORTANT: This information was forwarded by a police officer, who naturally
wants to remain anonymous:
"In reality, any response made following arrest or charge is worth very
little PROVIDED IT IS NOT SIGNED BY THE PERSON MAKING IT. The CPS do not
make any sort of a deal about responses unless they are on tape. I would
simply advise people to make no reply to any caution until it is in the
interview room with a lawyer present. This would apply doubly is special
warnings are used in interview.
People are very frightened to ask for the tape to be stopped before
consulting the lawyer. At the end of the day, he is your only friend in the
station, so use him to the full, and tell him everything. If he is any good,
he will advise you when to co-operate and when to keep schtum. I find a good
response is then "On the advice of my lawyer I have no comment to make at
If this is then questioned in court, the lawyer can take the blame for
offering dodgy advice, and no adverse views will be drawn from the no
comment response. I don't know about other forces, but in mine we keep the
tape running throughout the completion of antecedents and signing of forms
to protect officers against allegations. It tends to negate a whole lot of
When a person is arrested for drink driving, even though they are still
entitled to a lawyer, the breath test procedure cannot be delayed while this
is being done. A person who refuses to co-operate until he sees a lawyer
will find himself charged with failing to provide a specimen of breath."
If you want to challenge anything the police have done then get the names
and addresses of any witnesses, make a written record as soon as possible
after the event. It should be witnessed, dated and signed. If you are
injured, or property is damaged, then take photographs or video recordings
as soon as possible and have physical injuries medically examined.
If you have been treated unfairly then complain to a civil liberties group
or contact a lawyer about possible legal action.
(Not applicable in the Philippines...pag sa atin ka nahuli...humanda ka
ng bumunot...ng piaka)
We need contributions,
Submissions, Questions, Information, New sites, Comments.Whether you have
written an article and want to add it to our site or you have found an
interesting one not listed in here, we encourage you to submit it to us via
Your suggested article will be published as soon as we review it.
BACK TO PINOYROCK.COM