When a person is in custody the police have a legal duty to progress the investigation or process efficiently.

The police work to a 'detention clock' which starts once a person arrives in custody and the time in custody is subject to periodic reviews by a police Inspector - and in some cases a more senior officer.

Nevertheless, the police equally have a duty to conduct an investigation thoroughly and such actions take time whether it's gathering the evidence, speaking to witnesses, planning interviews and arranging suitable agencies to attend the station such as solicitors or appropriate adults. Additionally, any person arriving in an intoxicated state will lengthen the time in custody given, as they need to be sober and lucid before they can be formally dealt with.

Related information

Arrival in custody

Reasons for detaining people

The searching of people in custody

Police cells

How detained persons are looked after in custody

Females in custody

Fingerprints, DNA and photographs


The time a person can be held in custody

People suspected to be an illegal immigrant

When people leave custody

Documentation on leaving custody

Seeking an update for an investigation

Appearing at court

Source: North Wales Police

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