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Custody Sergeant

The police officer responsible for the care and welfare of arrested persons who are brought to the police station.

The custody sergeant speaks to the child when they arrive at the police station and makes decisions about how the child is cared for at the police station.

The custody sergeant:

  • makes a list of the child’s belongings (this is called a property record)

  • writes everything down on a custody record

  • informs the child’s parent, guardian (or person responsible for their welfare) that the child has been arrested1

  • makes arrangements for an appropriate adult to look after the child, their welfare needs and protect the child’s rights at the police station

  • decides whether a child needs to be strip searched

  • decides whether a child needs to be kept in a police cell2 or can sit with their appropriate adult in a waiting area, interview room or other safe place

  • decides whether the child can be released on bail or makes arrangements to transfer the child to local authority accommodation.



  1. Section 34(2) Children and Young Persons Act 1933  (back)
  2. Children should not be kept in a police cell unless no other secure accommodation is available and it is not possible to supervise the child not placed in a cell  (back)