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Anyone know anything about being in Police Custody?

(34 Posts)
TheProfiteroleThief Mon 24-Aug-09 08:59:35

No, no, no-one is banged up, not a dull thread by stealth.

I need to do some research for some voluntary work I'd like to do.

I know sweet fa about this (apart from having visited some cells).

I don't know what people are legally entitled to, and if that actually translate well to real life.

I suppose my thinking atm is that a parent (esp a single one) would be very concerned about their children.

Anyhow any comments/experience would be v useful - obv understand if anon/namechanger.

greensnail Mon 24-Aug-09 09:03:59

Last night i was wondering (not sure why) what would happen if you were arrested and breastfeeding? Would you be able to keep the baby with you?

TheProfiteroleThief Mon 24-Aug-09 09:05:59

That did cross my mind - am thoroughly Mnetted grin. Even a night or two could cause problems I think.

greensnail Mon 24-Aug-09 09:07:22

With a tiny baby even a few hours could cause problems...

TheProfiteroleThief Mon 24-Aug-09 09:09:01

I would guess a minority of cases though - I don't think I would have had time to do anything else at that point. Going to loo was an acheivement, let alone getting out to commit crimes grin

ShowOfHands Mon 24-Aug-09 09:10:14

DH is a copper and sitting next to me. What specifically would you like to know?

Single parents? Breastfeeding mothers? General entitlements?

TheDMshouldbeRivened Mon 24-Aug-09 09:11:13

our local police station deosn't have accessible cells for norty wheelchair users. I was wondering about that.

I was in a police cell once 20 years ago after being hauled away from Greenham common blush but there were lodas of us so a bit of a party was going on. Probably not representative grin

TheProfiteroleThief Mon 24-Aug-09 09:15:15

I have read the Home office info on entitlements, which make sense.

I see you are entitled to a phone call - I guess as a parent I would like to call more frequently than that - it is not as if it would be a planned babysitting thing. I guess social services are often called.

What happens ifyou need regular medication? Presumably a doc is on call. Initially I thought diabetics/asthmatics but I would imagine there is a higher % of people with mental health problems in custody who might have real problems without meds.

Nursing mothers a query, though I don't suppose high numbers?

What happens after your 24/36 hours? If you are charged, what happens next?

Thanks v much

ShowOfHands Mon 24-Aug-09 09:17:37


DH says the above, Code C more specifically are the guidelines that you would have to adhere to when detaining somebody in custody. It's based on human rights legislation. Custody sergeants can refuse any request not appearing in the guidelines. Discretion plays a part though I think.

He did say the custody sergeant at the local police station might be happy to talk to you.

You don't actually get a phonecall though which surprised me. The police will make a phonecall for you.

TheProfiteroleThief Mon 24-Aug-09 09:20:13

Oh thanks.
I can see the logic at them making a call. Good luck to them if ever need to phone around my friends looking for a babysitter - they would have to put the dc in another cell!

Good to hear discretion plays a part - I bet they can sort the scared new to the system types from the seen it all/done it all types

TheProfiteroleThief Mon 24-Aug-09 09:23:12

Oh I see - your emergency person is contacted at public cost, rather than 'one phone call'. Makes sense

ShowOfHands Mon 24-Aug-09 09:29:10

X posts sorry.

Depending on what you had done and whether you're being compliant some officers would allow you to speak on the phone to your children. DH speaks only about his station obviously. You then have the right to legal representation and the legal representative would negotiate your right to further phonecalls. You may have a nice custody sergeant who lets you anyway without the lawyer having to arrange it. You may have this request refused. In cases where there is no childminder/grandparent etc to care for the children, social services are called and a temporary care order placed.

There's access to a doctor, a police doctor who is employed by the NHS. Nurses too. If nobody's around who needs medical attention then they go back to their normal duties and are called as soon as they have a detainee with a medical issue. In larger forces (we're in Norfolk!) they have a full time doctor. If they have a detainee with mental health issues, they call the mental health team or in severe cases remove them to a mental health facility as they are unfit to be in custody.

If charged you're either bailed to return for a court date or sometimes remanded for the first available court date (the next morning usually). Depends on the crime, previous crimes, likelihood to abscond or reoffend. No point bailing them if they're going to immediately reoffend or bugger off.

Just checking up on breastfeeding mothers... He's never encountered it!

TheProfiteroleThief Mon 24-Aug-09 09:30:32

I thought it might not be the norm grin

TheProfiteroleThief Mon 24-Aug-09 09:31:39

If you are remanded, where do you go? Are there facilities for before and after conviction or are they all muddled in together?

I recognise my ignorance. My knowledge largely limited to Prison Break and lusting at screen

ShowOfHands Mon 24-Aug-09 09:33:45

DH has been 2+ hours late home from work before because a mother was arrested and had a baby/toddler with her (incapacitated, unable to care for the child) and the wait for social services was long. He plays with the children, has been out and bought nappies/wipes/small toys. Upsets him more than the usual Saturday night drinkers spitting at him/punching him.

greensnail Mon 24-Aug-09 09:35:27

Its just my paranoia about being arrested while bf then. It could happen though - sleep deprived new mother gets done for death by dangerous driving or something....

Or wrongly arrested for something her evil twin did. Maybe i watch too many soaps wink

ShowOfHands Mon 24-Aug-09 09:41:07

Prison Break isn't a representation of real life? shock I thought it was a documentary! grin

DH just phoned his custody sergeant to ask for you. There is no legislation that governs breastfeeding mothers. Where possible you try to accommodate. It happened last week apparently. The mother had supervised regular visits with her baby in order to breastfeed.

Our marriage is now on the line as the custody sergeant continued...

If the detainee is non compliant they will be refused (so fighting, resisting, causing damage to themselves/others/their surroundings). They take the line that the mother is not stable enough to be trusted with supervised visits with a baby and formula is an acceptable alternative (presuming no known intolerances etc). I think this is a bit of a worrying grey area.

If remanded overnight in custody you're put back in the same cell until being moved to the court cells for your hearing.

ShowOfHands Mon 24-Aug-09 09:43:48

And you're not at all ignorant. I know none of this and am married to a police officer.

DH did just ask if you work for the Daily Mail or if you're involved in a spat with your local station after being recently arrested? grin If either is true, especially the first, then he said nothing, knows nothing.

mumoverseas Mon 24-Aug-09 09:46:49

and the food is crap. (speaking as an ex police officer, not an ex felon!) wink

TheProfiteroleThief Mon 24-Aug-09 09:48:41

Neither of the above!
Our local force is looking for Independent Custoday Visitors and I thought it looked more interesting that Pdsa chairty shop grin

TheProfiteroleThief Mon 24-Aug-09 09:49:39

Your DH sounds v nice btw. I cannot imagine much more scarey than being arrested, unless it is being a child with a parent being arrested.

greensnail Mon 24-Aug-09 09:53:26

Yes that is a slightly worrying grey area, but i suppose there would need to be some discretion, in case the mother really was a risk to the baby.

Thanks ShowOfHand's DH

ShowOfHands Mon 24-Aug-09 09:57:40

Aww thanks. He is very nice and as an anti-establishment, pacifistic, mistruster of authority, I think he's bloomin' lovely. He works very, very hard and says the day he stops seeing people as individuals and starts thinking of them as criminals, he's leaving.

DH says have you spent any time in custody seeing the bad side of things? He is still shocked by how forceful you have to be with non compliant detainees. It looks horrific from the outside and he doesn't like it but is necessary/appropriate/following guidelines. He says make sure you know how bad it can sometimes be. He also said that if you enjoy the ICV work then to see if your force has an appropriate adult scheme because they're always crying out for them and they do invaluable work.

The food, yes, the food is awful. DH picked a chap up from prison yesterday to take him to the local station for interviewing and the guy was adamant that he wanted it all over and done with before he had to eat any custody slop. Prison food much nicer apparently. grin

ShowOfHands Mon 24-Aug-09 10:01:19

There does have to be an area where discretion is applicable because a mother can be a danger to a baby and sadly that dh has seen many, many times. But I suppose I would worry that in a scenario like the one you described (death by dangerous driving), the fear, sleep deprivation and panic could be construed as non compliance. And enforced separation from the baby could happen.

Still, it's there that you hope a decent, trained officer (which most of them are despite what is often said) will recognise the difference between the two.

TheProfiteroleThief Mon 24-Aug-09 10:06:55

Have not spent any time there when anyone has been present - only seeing facilities (new station, very high standards I think). I have stayed in worse hotel rooms grin but my standards are low!

I can imagine that a fair amount of force (hopefully without injury) is necessary, but from my info, we would see people already in custody who would be willing to talk to us. So I would imagine they are more likely to be disgruntled than most, but would already be in the system if that makes sense.

There is an appropriate adult scheme - but not sure I am adult enough!

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