It can happen to the best of us, and if you’re living in London, and you do get arrested, then you need to know what to do and who to call to avoid being taken to the Tower of London and beheaded. The first thing that you need to know is that your right to remain silent is a part f the British constitution. If you are arrested while you are living in London, all that you have to give, in terms of information, to your arresting officer is your name, your address and any identification documentation.
There are very strict laws governing search and arrest procedures in the United Kingdom and you are allowed to ask why you are being arrested, and what the charges are before you accompany a police officer to a local station. The best thing you can do if you are arrested while living in London is to get legal advice as soon as you have been arrested.
Asking to see a solicitor (lawyer) is not an admission of guilt under the laws of the United Kingdom. If you do not have a solicitor on speed dial, and let’s face it, not many people do. You can ask Custody Sergeant for the Duty Solicitor who will represent you, much like a public defender. You have the right to consult with your solicitor at any time and for the meeting to be held confidentially.
The biggest thing you must remember is not to sign any piece of paper until your solicitor gives you the go ahead, and remember that there is no such thing as an informal interview with the police once you have been arrested. Everything you say can be used against you to form a case that will be used in court. As a foreigner, your embassy and the authorities in your country of origin will be informed as well. If you feel you have been arrested unfairly, then your first call should be to your embassy that will be able to offer you legal advice.
Keeping the number of your embassy on speed dial is probably the most useful thing you can do when you are living in London. Lost passports and travel documents; visas and work permits. These are just few of the facilities that your embassy can help you with.
Oh and by the way, just because you are living in London does not mean that the laws do not apply to you. Only embassy officials have diplomatic immunity. Most foreigners are arrested for drunkenness or drunk driving and seeing your new home from the inside of the “Custody Suite” at your local police station is not fun.