Department of Education

What should I do if the police stop me and want to talk to me?

What should I do if the police stop me and want to talk to me?

If you are stopped by a police officer who wants to question you, they must tell you why they have stopped you – it may be because you appear to be in trouble, or involved in something illegal, or it may be because they think you can help them with their enquiries.

What happens if the police think that you have done something illegal or are about to break the law?

  • If they think you are carrying a weapon or drugs, they might want to search your clothing or bag.
  • You must give your name and address, but you don’t have to answer any other questions until you have received legal advice.
  • Try to stay calm.
  • If they arrest you, you will usually be taken to a police station.
  • If you are under 17 you cannot be questioned at a police station without a parent or carer being present.

If the police officer just wants to ask you questions to help with their enquiries, you do not have to go to the police station. If you do go to the police station voluntarily to answer their questions, you can leave at any time.

If you have to go to court, young people aged 10 -17 are taken to the Youth Court, and if you are 18 and above, you will go to the Magistrates Court.


The Citizens Advice Bureau offers information and advice about the police, their powers and your rights.

You can find out more about you and the police on the Connexions website.

See the NAS website for information on autism and the criminal justice system.

Find out about communication needs in the youth justice system with Sentence Trouble.


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