Police in Jersey

4.34.02.L3 Updated on:

General Powers of the police

It is your right that the police treat you fairly and with respect at all times.

The police must follow the rules set out in the Police Procedure and Criminal Evidence (Jersey) Law 2003 and the Codes of Practice (PPACE), which outline how they have to treat you, and what rights you have: for example, if you have been arrested you have the right to speak with a legal advisor and to let a family member or friend know that you have been arrested.

PPACE sets out to strike the right balance between the powers of the police and the rights and freedoms of the public.

The PPACE codes of practice cover the following area:

  • stop and search
  • powers of entry
  • arrest
  • detention
  • interviewing
  • identification

 A link to the law containing the codes can be found here

Stop and search

When can the police stop and search you

The police have a right and a duty to stop and talk to members of the public and in certain circumstances to search them.

When it comes to stop and search, you also have rights.

You will not be stopped in any way by the police just because of your:

  • age
  • race
  • ethnic background
  • nationality
  • religion
  • because you have committed a crime in the past.

The police can stop and search you for other reasons including:

  • as part of our anti-terrorism efforts
  • if there has been serious violence or disorder in the area
  • if they are looking for a suspect who fits the description
  • if they have reasonable grounds to suspect you’re carrying a weapon, drugs or stolen property

When the police stop and search you, they must provide you with the following information before the search can begin:

  • proof of their warrant card (not in uniform)
  • information on police powers to stop and search
  • information on your rights
  • the police officer’s name and police station
  • the reason for the search
  • what they think they might find when they search you

If you are not given a copy of the search record, you can ask for a copy. You must do this within three months of the date of the search.

In all of these situations where the police have a right to stop and search, they should not require you to take off in public any clothing other than an outer coat, jacket or gloves.

A more thorough search or a strip search may take place in private, for example in a police van. A strip search must be made by a police officer of the same sex.

If you are arrested, the police can search you for anything you might use to help you escape or for evidence relating to the offence that has led to your arrest.

Things you should know

  • Being stopped does not mean that you are under arrest or that you have necessarily done something wrong.
  • If you are stopped by the police, you are required to stay for the duration of the search.  If nesscessory, you will be preventing from walking away.
  • The police must use the search powers fairly, responsibly and with respect for people without discriminating.
  • They must make sure that the search time is kept to a minimum.
  • The search must take place near to where you stopped, except on occasions where moving you would protect your privacy.
  • you should receive a written record of the search or a receipt at the time of the event.

They do not have the power to stop you in order to find a reason for a search.

If you are in a public place, you only have to take off your coat or jacket and any gloves that you are wearing, unless you have been stopped in relation to terrorism or where we believe you are using clothes to hide your identity.

If it is necessary to take off more than this or any items that you wear for religious reasons, such as a face scarf, veil or turban, we will take you somewhere out of public view for your own privacy. This does not mean that you are being arrested. In cases such as this, the police officer that searches you will be the same sex as you.

The police also have powers under the Misuse of Drugs (Jersey) Law 1978 to stop, search and detain you if they have reasonable grounds to suspect that you are in possession of a controlled substance. 

Can the police use force?

The police can use reasonable force when they stop and search, but must make every effort to persuade you to co-operate. They should only use force as a last resort.

Powers of entry

When can the police enter and search

Police can only enter premises without a warrant if a serious or dangerous incident has taken place.

Situations in which the police can enter premises without a warrant include when they want to:

  • deal with a breach of the peace or prevent it
  • enforce an arrest warrant
  • arrest a person in connection with certain offences
  • recapture someone who has escaped from custody
  • save life or prevent serious damage to property

Apart from when they are preventing serious injury to life or property, the police must have reasonable grounds for believing that the person they are looking for is on the premises.

If the police do arrest you, they can also enter and search any premises where you were during or immediately before the arrest. They can search only for evidence relating to the offence for which you have been arrested or to some other offence which is connected with or similar to that offence and they must have reasonable grounds for believing there is evidence there. They can also search any premises occupied by someone who is under arrest for certain serious offences. Again, the police officer who carries out the search must have reasonable grounds for suspecting that there is evidence on the premises relating to the offence or a similar offence.

In other circumstances, the police must have a search warrant before they can enter the premises.

When they are carrying out a search police officers must:

  • identify themselves and – if they are in uniform – show their warrant card, and
  • explain why they want to search, the rights of the occupier and whether the search is made with a search warrant or not. 

If the police have a warrant, they can force entry if:

  • the occupier has refused entry, or
  • it is impossible to communicate with the occupier, or
  • the occupier is absent, or
  • the premises are unoccupied, or
  • they have reasonable grounds for believing that if they do not force entry it would hinder the search, or someone would be placed in danger.

When can the police seize property

Police should only seize goods if they have reasonable grounds for believing that:

  • they have been obtained illegally: or
  • they are evidence in relation to an offence.

In either of these cases, they must also have reasonable grounds for believing that it is necessary to seize the goods to prevent them being lost, stolen or destroyed. 


Why might the police arrest someone

If the police suspect a person has been involved in an offence, they have the power to arrest them no matter where that person is – in the street, at home, at a friend’s house or at school.

The police may arrest someone you if

  • you are in the act of committing certain offences
  • they have reasonable grounds for suspecting you are committing certain offences
  • they have reasonable grounds for suspecting you have committed certain offences
  • you are about to commit certain offences
  • they have reasonable grounds for suspecting you are about to commit certain offences.

If you are arrested by the police it is your right that they:

  • tell you that you are being arrested
  • tell you the crime they suspect you have done
  • show you that we are police officers (by wearing the uniform and numbered shoulder badgers or, if working undercover, by showing you a warrant card)

What happens next?


You may be handcuffed (to make sure that you don’t try and escape, hurt a police officer or hurt yourself) and taken to a custody office in a police station.

At the police station, the custody officer will decide whether there are any legal reasons to keep you there. If there aren’t any, they will arrange for you to be released.

If you are detained at the police station

The custody officer will tell you why and tell you about the rights that you have while you’re being held by the police. You

have the right to:

  • speak to a solicitor/lawyer (you can use one that you know or we can call one for you, known as the duty solicitor – the duty solicitor is free of charge to use and independent of the police)
  • have someone told that you’ve been arrested, if you are under 18 the police will inform your parents or guardian
  • consult the police codes of practice which govern how you can expect to be dealt with whilst in custody
  • A police inspector can withhold your right to have someone told you have been arrested in serious cases.  In order to allow a delay, the officer should be satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that informing someone of your arrest would:
  • lead to interference with evidence

  • affect the police’s ability to recover property
  • lead to other suspects being alerted
  • prevent recovery of the proceeds resulting from drug offences.

The right to legal advice can be delayed in certain very serious cases. Also, the police should also inform you that you do not need to use these rights immediately. You can exercise them at any time while you are detained. You should be given a written notice of your rights whilst you are in the police station, and your right to a written copy of your custody record when you are released.

How long do the police have a right to hold you?

You can’t usually be held for more than 24 hours without being charged with a crime.

A police Inspector will review your detention at regular intervals throughout your time in custody to ensure that the matter is being investigated properly and that you still need to be held at the police station. They will normally come and speak with you and explain what is happening.

For a serious crime, a police Chief Inspector can extend the amount of time that you are held after 24 hours.

If you are under 18

  • If you are under 18, the police will arrange for your parent or legal guardian to come to the station to help you.
  • If they need to interview you, then they arrange for your parent, guardian or a responsible adult to sit in on the interview with you.  If your parents or legal guardian are not available they will find another adult from our appropriate adult scheme to help you.

People with learning difficulties

If you have learning difficulties, the police should only interview you when a responsible person is present, unless delay would result in a risk of injury or harm to property or people. You should be accompanied at interview by:

  • a relative or other person responsible for your care, or
  • a person who is not employed by the police, and who is experienced in dealing with people with learning difficulties
  • some other responsible adult who isn’t employed by the police.

People from abroad

If you are from abroad, you have the right to tell your High Commission, embassy or consulate your whereabouts. If you are from certain countries where the UK has a special agreement, the High Commission, embassy or consulate will be told about your arrest automatically.

If your first language is not English

If you have difficulty understanding English and the interviewing officer cannot speak your language, you should be provided with language support. The police must not interview you until the language support unless a delay would mean an immediate risk of harm to someone or serious loss of or damage to property.

Deaf people and people with hearing/speech difficulties

If you have hearing or speech difficulties, the police should offer you an interpreter. They should not question you until the interpreter is present unless a delay would mean an immediate risk of harm to someone or serious loss of or damage to property, or unless you agree in writing to be interviewed without.


Once detention at the police station has been authorised, the officer investigating the offence may wish to carry out an audibly recorded interview about the suspect’s alleged involvement in the offence(s).

If you are interviewed at a police station, such interviews must comply with the requirements of the Code of Practice for the Detention, Treatment and Questioning of Persons by Police Officers (Code C) and the Code of Practice on Audio Recording Interviews with Suspects (Code E).

These include the basic requirement for the recording of interviews to be “carried out openly to instil confidence in its reliability as an impartial and accurate record of the interview”.

Are you fit to be interviewed?

Generally, you should not be interviewed at a police station if you appear unable to:

  • appreciate the significance of questions or your answers: or
  • understand what is happening because of the effects of drinks, drugs, or any illness, ailment or condition

Can you be interviewed before receiving legal advice?

Once a suspect has been arrested and detained at a police station, they have the right to receive free and independent legal advice. Generally, if you require legal advice, you should not be interviewed before receiving it. Also, if you initially indicate that you do not require legal advice, but change your mind during the interview, the interview should be stopped.


You should be cautioned at the start of an interview to make you aware that you are not obliged to say anything, but anything you do say will be recorded and may be given in evidence.


The interviewing officer must not try to obtain answers to questions or elicit statements from you by using oppression, for example, raising his voice. Also, appropriate breaks and rest periods should be allowed, in accordance with the requirements of Code C.


Fingerprints, photographs and DNA samples

If you have been arrested, charged, convicted for a recordable offence in England and Wales, the police have the power to take your fingerprints, photographs and a DNA sample without your consent to prevent and detect crime.