Pocket lawyer: Legal first aid

March 2013

This pocket lawyer is provided as a means of keeping everyone up to date with on their rights. It should be printed out and carried as one of the tools against police harassment; hard copies are available from the campaign upon request. In view of the increased abuses of the law by the police used against members of the public in general and protesters opposed to the cuts in particular the Glasgow Defence Campaign believes it is necessary to publish the following advice. 

If you are new to the protest movement you need to be aware that the right to protest is enshrined in Scottish law through the Human Rights Act. This right to freedom of expression (Article 10) and the freedom of assembly and association (Article 11) is also part of UK domestic law by virtue of the European Convention on Human Rights. The police and the courts have a duty to operate with this legislation in mind. Any perceived abuses of law should be carefully noted and reported to the Glasgow Defence Campaign, and this can be publically logged on our online Harassment Log if you wish. 

If the police approach you or try to extract details from you
You do NOT have to give your name or address or cooperate with photos or video under ANY search power – SO DON’T! 

The police can only demand your details with a legal basis if you are reasonably suspected of committing an offence or have been a witness to an offence. The police officer must state the nature of the offence to you. In this instance you are required to provide the following details:  Name, Address, Date and Place of Birth along with your nationality. No other details are required to be given so don’t. 

You must provide the above details if you are a driver of a vehicle on the road or involved in or witnessed an accident or road traffic offence whether in a car, on a bike or as a pedestrian.

What to do if you are arrested

Don’t panic. You will soon be released. Under Scottish law you have the right to have a reasonably named person made aware of your arrest and also to have a solicitor informed of your detention. You have no right to a phone call yourself. These rights should be explained to you by the custody officer who will process you.

You can be held for six to twelve hours or in exceptional circumstances up to twenty four hours. THE POLICE CANNOT INTERVIEW YOU WITHOUT A SOLICITOR PRESENT WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT. Always insist on consulting a solicitor. If you are charged and kept in custody you will go to court on the next lawful court date. (Usually the next day, but in the case of an arrest over the weekend that would mean a Monday court appearance.)

Always exercise your RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT, and answer ‘no comment’ to ALL questions asked, before and during detention and during any interviews the police may carry out. Do not elect to discuss anything with the police at any time, whether informally or formally. Anything you volunteer can be used as evidence against you. It is easier to say nothing than attempt to selectively answer questions. Sign no statements without legal advice. 

You have the right to be told why you are under arrest. Your photo, finger and palm prints and DNA can be taken. You will be searched by an officer of the same gender and your possessions taken from you until you are released. If you are under 16 the police will contact your parent/guardian. If you are hurt you have the right to see a doctor. If English is not your first language you have the right to a translator.
2.            DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING (except to see the doctor)
(about fathers, mothers dying or being detained or calling the station to condemn you or other attempts to agitate you)
Write down everything that happened, detailing if they have assaulted you, threatened you,            atttempted to blackmail you, insulted your religion, used filthy talk or cursed you.


We recommend you use McGreevy & Co solicitors 07951 790 145 & 0141 422 2220    
Published by the Glasgow Defence Campaign glasgowdefencecampaign.blogspot.com

The above law is correct as of 21 March 2013

Copies of our latest ‘Bust card’ are available by emailing the campaign. Multiple copies are available.

Arrest advice

What to do if you are arrested

On arrest, stay calm. If there isn’t someone nearby who knows you, it helps if you shout out the name you’ll be giving to the police, so the campaign can find you later. (If you WITNESS an arrest, note down the person’s name, exact time and place, arresting officer’s number(s), and anything else you see, and hand it in to a steward or legal observer or email it to glasgowdefence@yahoo.co.uk)

  • To know what you’ve been arrested for – ask!
  • If the police wish to charge you or interview you, to contact and consult YOUR CHOICE of solicitor, free. We strongly advise against using the duty solicitor. We would recommend using one of the following solicitors;
McGreevy & Co 07951 790 145
Claire Ryan 07977 000 312
Patrick Campbell & Co 0141 423 2222
  • You do not have the right to a phone call but do have the right to have someone notified of your arrest
  • We strongly suggest that you remain silent throughout. Remember you are presumed innocent until proven otherwise. If you appear before a court, we strongly suggest a not guilty plea is lodged.
WE STRONGLY ADVISE: Answer all interview questions with “NO COMMENT”, and DON’T WRITE OR SIGN A STATEMENT. If in doubt, SAY NOTHING and ask your solicitor. The only info you have to give the police after arrest is YOUR NAME, ADDRESS, DATE AND PLACE OF BIRTH AND NATIONALITY.

It is now standard practice for the police to take photos, fingerprints and DNA samples from everyone they arrest, even if they are not charged. You have the right to refuse consent, but they are then permitted to use ‘reasonable’ force. One option is to refuse consent but to not physically resist. They may also ask you for loads of personal details for their records – you don’t have to answer, so don’t!

Please authorise the police to reveal info about your detention & welfare to the campaign on request.
When you’re released, it will be useful to write up your own account of events as soon as possible after your release, for future court cases etc, please send this on to the campaign and we can arrange to discuss your case with you. 

A useful resource is http://www.scalp.noflag.org.uk./

The Glasgow Defence Campaign has been made aware of increased instances of harassment being faced by Irish republican supporters in Scotland. We would like to point out the following link, which the British Irish Rights Watch were involved in helping compile, entitled ‘Know YourRights: What to do when MI5 come knocking on your door’ it provides a valuable resource for those who face such attention.

We would like to point out that the advice is specific to the jurisdictions of England and Wales, and thus excludes Scotland and the Six Counties. The general advice, nevertheless still applies, anything more specific should be directed to defence solicitors directly.