Rights and duties

If you are arrested and detained in the police cells under the Police Act (for disturbing the peace, public intoxication, uncertain identity, etc.) you have certain rights.

Information about the reason for the detention

You have the right to know why you have been detained

Duty to disclose personal information

You have a duty to state your name, date of birth, occupation and address when the police ask for them.

Help for an interpreter

The police will provide an interpreter if necessary.

Medical assistance

Before you are placed in custody, the police shall check whether you need medical assistance. The police shall make sure that you receive necessary medical assistance.

Searching / personal property

When you are detained, the police may search you. Money, valuables including mobile phones, alcohol/narcotics/sedatives and objects which could harm yourself or others will be taken from you. This personal property shall be returned to you when you are released, except for alcohol or objects that the police are allowed to keep by law.

Informing family members / military unit

If you are under 18, the police have a duty to inform your parents or guardians about your detention.

If you are over 18, you can ask the police to inform your family members or other persons you wish to inform. This shall be done as soon as practically possible.

If you are in military service, the police shall inform your immediate military superiors.

Informing the embassy

If you are a foreign national, you have the right to inform the embassy or consulate of your country of your dentention. At your request, the police shall make sure they are informed.

Contact with a lawyer

You can ask the police to inform a lawyer as soon as practically possible.  You must pay the legal costs yourself.

Notification to your next of kin and embassy

  • You will generally have a right to notify those you live with, or others designated by you, within two hours of being brought in to a police station.
  • However, the police can wait to give such notification if it can significantly prevent the investigation of the matter.
  • If you are under the age of 18, the police will generally notify your family regardless of whether or not you want them to.
  • If you are a foreign national, you have a right to notify your embassy or consulate that you have been arrested.

Right to contact a lawyer

  • If you are arrested, you have a right to contact a lawyer within two hours of being brought in to the police station.
  • You can freely choose what lawyer to contact.

Making a statement

  • You have a duty to state your name, date of birth, employment and address when asked by the police.
  • You have no duty to tell the police anything else. You can refuse to say anything, or you can decide what questions to answer.

Appearing in court

If you are not released, the police must as soon as possible and no later than on the third day after your arrest, put the question of whether you should remain in custody before a judge. You will normally be brought before a judge the day after your arrest.

Mattress and blankets in the police cells

  • If you have to stay the night in a police cell, you have a right to a clean mattress and blankets.
  • If the police believe giving you a mattress and a blanket would represent a safety risk, they can delay giving them to you.

Medical attention in the police cells

  • You have a right to contact medical personnel no later than two hours after you were brought in to the police station
  • If you call medical personnel yourself, the police have the right to verify the identity of the person answering your call. Once that is done, you can speak to the medical personnel without anyone listening in.