Being held in custody

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At an action, things can move quickly – especially when police are making arrests.

Once you are under arrest and back at the police station, things often slow down and there is a lot of waiting.

If you are arrested, the police may only keep you in custody for a “reasonable time”.

What is reasonable depends upon the:

  • Number and complexity of the offences
  • Time needed for police to read and collate material
  • Number of other people being questioned
  • How busy the police station is that day
  • Time needed for you to talk to a lawyer, interpreter, relative or friend
  • Time needed for medical attention
  • Time given to you to rest during an interview

It is fairly common to spend around 4 hours at the police station before you are released (with or without bail conditions).

If you have been held in custody for a long time, or if you are feeling unsafe, you should ask to phone a lawyer.

You also have the right to make a phone call to a friend or relative.

You can also ask the police if they intend to charge you with something.

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Being held in custody

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