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Foreign nationals and non English speaking detainees

Foreign national

A foreign national is a person who is not a citizen of the host country in which he or she is residing or temporarily residing.

What support is there for a foreign national or non English speaking detainee?

The police  must arrange for someone who speaks your language to help you. This is free. You will be given a copy of your Rights and Entitlements in your own language. After each decision to keep you in custody and if you have been charged with any offence, the police must also give you a record (in your own language) of why you are being detained and of any offence you have been charged with, unless there are special reasons not to (See Partner Agencies supporting the Custody process - Interpreters)

Can I speak to my embassy or consulate?

If you are not British, you can tell the police that you want to contact your High Commission, Embassy or Consulate to tell them where you are and why you are in the police station. They can also visit you in private or arrange for a solicitor to see you.

What about my religious or cultural needs?

You should tell the police if you need anything to assist you to practice your religion whilst at the station.  Each custody site has a copy of the Koran, the Bible and the Torah available if requested. The police will respect all religious artifacts retained in custody offices for the use of detainees.

Wherever possible the police will allow any reasonable requests in respect of religious considerations, particularly: facilitating times of prayer, including washing; providing Halal, kosher, vegetarian and vegan meal alternatives and visits from faith leaders

Each cell is marked in order to provide advice to Islamic detainees on the direction of Mecca.

What happens if you are suspected to be an illegal immigrant?

Failed asylum seekers or immigration offenders may be detained in police custody. This is an arrangement that has been agreed with the United Kingdom Visas and Immegration (UKVI).

The police will understand that you may require medical treatment; refreshments and replacement clothing. This will be provided for you.

Once the UKVI have made enquiries into your presence in the UK, they will take responsibility for your continued detention and possible removal from the UK