Know Your Rights
To help you understand the rights you have as a young person, we've answered some of the most common questions here.
Q. What rights do I have if the Police want to search me?
A. If the Police suspect you of having something you shouldn’t have – like illegal drugs, a knife, stolen goods, etc – they have power to stop and search you. The officer will tell you their name and what Police station they work from, tell you that you’re being detained for a search and why and what they are looking for. After, you will be offered a receipt of the search. Further information can be found here.
Q. What rights do I have if I am found with alcohol?
A. If a police officer suspects that you are under 18 and have alcohol on you, even if you have taken it from home, then they will take it from you. Even if you are over 18, if the police officer reasonably thinks that you intend to give the alcohol to someone under 18, they can take it from you.
Q. What rights do I have if I have been arrested?
A. If a Police officer believes that you have committed a crime they can arrest you if they believe it’s necessary to do so. You must provide your name, date of birth, address and nationality when asked to do so by a Police officer.
If you are under 16 a parent, guardian or carer will be told that you are in Police custody and they will be allowed to visit you. If the Police need to ask you questions at the station you must also have a solicitor present.
If you are 16 and 17 years old but are cared for by your local social work department under a Compulsory Supervision Order (CSO), a parent, guardian or carer will be told that you are in Police custody and they will be allowed to visit you. If the Police need to ask you questions at the station you must also have a solicitor present.
If you are 16 or 17, and not subject to a Compulsory Supervision Order, you can name a suitable person to be told and they can be allowed to visit you if you wish. You can only be interviewed without a solicitor if the suitable person agrees with your decision not to have a solicitor present.
You can be held in Police custody for up to 12 hours, however, this can be extended to 24 hours in exceptional circumstances.
Q. What happens to me if I have been charged?
A. No two incidents are the same and the outcome could affect you short term or into your adult life. If you are charged with an offence, a report can be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal or the Children’s Reporter. For more information on possible outcomes click here.
Q. What rights do I have if I am a victim of a crime?
A. If you are a victim of certain crimes you will have the option to let officers know whether you want a male or female officer to interview you. They will try to meet your request wherever possible. We will ensure you receive a Victim’s Care Card which will provide you with details of your enquiry officer (person investigating the crime), the crime you reported and information on how you can access victim support and the Scottish Government’s Victim’s Code. We will always ask your permission to share your details with support agencies. For more information click here.
Q. Do I still have rights when I am online?
A. The online and offline world are equal aspects of anyone’s life and your rights still exist. Rights are rights whither its on social media, gaming or on the street. For more information click here.
Q. What rights do I have if the Police ask me to move from the park or a street, etc?
A. The police have the power to move you on if they believe that you are blocking the pathway to any other person in a public place eg in large groups outside shops, narrow lanes, etc or if you are behaving in such a way that you could disturb or annoy or cause fear to members of the public eg shouting in a park
If you have been asked to move on, you are entitled to ask for a reason and should expect to receive one.
If you have any questions or want to find out more information, visit Ask The Police or download the App.
Q. I’m under 16 years old. Can I still make a complaint?
Yes, you will need to be accompanied by a parent, guardian or other suitable adult when discussing your complaint with the enquiry officer.