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Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984

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56 Right to have someone informed when arrested. E+W

(1)Where a person has been arrested and is being held in custody in a police station or other premises, he shall be entitled, if he so requests, to have one friend or relative or other person who is known to him or who is likely to take an interest in his welfare told, as soon as is practicable except to the extent that delay is permitted by this section, that he has been arrested and is being detained there.

(2)Delay is only permitted—

(a)in the case of a person who is in police detention for a serious arrestable offence; and

(b)if an officer of at least the rank of superintendent authorises it.

(3)In any case the person in custody must be permitted to exercise the right conferred by subsection (1) above within 36 hours from the relevant time, as defined in section 41(2) above.

(4)An officer may give an authorisation under subsection (2) above orally or in writing but, if he gives it orally, he shall confirm it in writing as soon as is practicable.

(5)[F1Subject to sub-section (5A) below] An officer may only authorise delay where he has reasonable grounds for believing that telling the named person of the arrest—

(a)will lead to interference with or harm to evidence connected with a serious arrestable offence or interference with or physical injury to other persons; or

(b)will lead to the alerting of other persons suspected of having committed such an offence but not yet arrested for it; or

(c)will hinder the recovery of any property obtained as a result of such an offence.

[F2(5A)An officer may also authorise delay where the serious arrestable offence is a drug trafficking offence [F3or an offence to which Part VI of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 applies (offences in respect of which confiscation orders under that Part may be made)] and the officer has reasonable grounds for believing—

[F4(a)where the offence is a drug trafficking offence, that the detained person has benefited from drug trafficking and that the recovery of the value of that person’s proceeds of drug trafficking will be hindered by telling the named person of the arrest; and

(b)where the offence is one to which Part VI of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 applies, that the detained person has benefited from the offence and that the recovery of the value of the property obtained by that person from or in connection with the offence or of the pecuniary advantage derived by him from or in connection with it will be hindered by telling the named person of the arrest.]]

(6)If a delay is authorised—

(a)the detained person shall be told the reason for it; and

(b)the reason shall be noted on his custody record.

(7)The duties imposed by subsection (6) above shall be performed as soon as is practicable.

(8)The rights conferred by this section on a person detained at a police station or other premises are exercisable whenever he is transferred from one place to another; and this section applies to each subsequent occasion on which they are exercisable as it applies to the first such occasion.

(9)There may be no further delay in permitting the exercise of the right conferred by subsection (1) above once the reason for authorising delay ceases to subsist.

(10)In the foregoing provisions of this section references to a person who has been arrested include references to a person who has been detained under the terrorism provisions and “arrest” includes detention under those provisions.

(11)In its application to a person who has been arrested or detained under the terrorism provisions—

(a)subsection 2(a) above shall have effect as if for the words “for a serious arrestable offence” there were substituted the words “under the terrorism provisions”;

(b)subsection (3) above shall have effect as if for the words from “within” onwards there were substituted the words “before the end of the period beyond which he may no longer be detained without the authority of the Secretary of State”; and

(c)subsection (5) above shall have effect as if at the end there were added or

(d)will lead to interference with the gathering of information about the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism; or

(e)by alerting any person, will make it more difficult—

(i)to prevent an act of terrorism; or

(ii)to secure the apprehension, prosecution or conviction of any person in connection with the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism..

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Amendments (Textual)

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

C1S. 56 applied with modifications by S.I. 1985/1800, arts. 3–11, Schs. 1, 2 and Criminal Justice Act 1988 (c. 33, SIF 39:1), s. 99(4)

S. 56(1)-(6)(8) applied (with modifications) (1.2.1997) by S.I. 1997/15, art. 2(1),Sch.

S. 56(7)(9) applied (1.2.1997) by S.I. 1997/15, art. 2(1),Sch.

C2S. 56 extended (2.8.1993) by S.I. 1993/1813, art. 6, Sch. 3 paras. 1(2)(b), 3(2); s. 56 extended by the said S.I. 1993/1813, art. 6, Sch. 3 paras. 3(3), 4 as incorporated (with modifications) (1.12.1997) by S.I. 1994/1405, art. 6, Sch. 3 paras. 4(b)(d), 5

S. 56 applied (with modifications) (1.12.1997) by S.I. 1993/1813, art. 6, Sch. 3 para. 1(3) (as inserted (1.12.1997) by S.I. 1994/1405, art. 8, Sch. 4 para. 10)

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