Your rights and how you can expect to be treated
Any time you are dealing with the Police, as a witness, a suspect or for any other reason, you should be treated with fairness, courtesy and respect.
The goal of the PSNI is to Keep People Safe. We do this in a number of ways which may involve you, at some point, taking to a Police Officer.
If you are suspected of committing an offence or giving evidence as a witness and are under the age of 18 you will have to be accompanied by an Appropriate Adult. This person may be your Parent, Guardian or someone else who is unconnected to the case.
This person is required as they may be able to better explain what is happening and they are there to ensure you are treated fairly.
If you are spoken to by Police for any other reason, you should be treated with fairness, courtesy and respect. When Police are investigating an offence or an allegation, they have number of powers. This means they can, if required, arrest, interview and search you. All these steps may not be required, the circumstances of the allegation or investigation will dictate what action is, or is not, taken.
If you are not happy with how you have been treated by the Police you can make a complaint to the Police Ombudsman's Office. They are responsible for investigating complaints against the Police and you will deal with them directly. They will ask you for information about your complaint and investigate based on what you tell them.
The Children’s Law Centre is one of the leading children’s charities in NI. It works to protect the rights of all children living in NI but in particular those who are the most disadvantaged, especially children who are living with disabilities, have special educational needs, mental health problems and are experiencing discrimination. They use the law to access critical services for children and young people and to challenge the discrimination and disadvantage suffered by many of our most vulnerable children. They provide a free legal advice service and legal representation for children and young people. They also work to create a society where all children can access all the necessary services and avail of all opportunities to enjoy their childhood and realise their full potential.