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Police Powers of Detention

The police have a power to detain an individual for up to 6 hours if they have reasonable grounds to suspect that the person has committed a crime punishable by imprisonment. The reasonable grounds for suspicion do not require to be corroborated and during the course of detention the suspect, while having the right to have a solicitor informed of his detention, has no automatic right to have that solicitor present during any questioning. If being questioned, the detained person must be cautioned that he need not answer any questions. In the absence of such a caution evidence of any answers given in response to such questioning is likely to be inadmissible in a subsequent prosecution. The police have powers during the course of detention to take samples, fingerprints etc. from the individual. At the end of the 6 hour period the individual must be released or charged.