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You Do Not Have to Say Anything

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The standard caution read by a police officer to anyone who gets arrested in the UK. Unlike the Miranda rights, this is almost always done as well on TV (even if only parts of it), if not necessarily by the character who actually cuffs the perp.

The current England and Wales version (as modified by the 1994 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act) is:

"You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence."

(Source: "Being arrested: your rights" on the UK Government website.)

The original version prior to 1994 was:

"You do not have to say anything if you do not wish to do so, but anything you do say may be used against you in a court of law."

(Sharp-eyed tropers will note that the accused now has only a qualified right to remain silentnote , whereas before 1994 the accused had an absolute right to remain silentnote . This change was enormously controversial at the time and is still lamented by civil libertarians. It may also be at odds with the European Convention on Human Rights. However, whilst this change may seem unfair out of context, it makes a lot more sense when you know the full picture. In the UK, the rules on police interrogation were changed to make them fairer and decrease the chances of innocent suspects incriminating themselves or falsely confessing to crimes they didn't do note . So it makes sense for police to be suspicious of a suspect refusing to talk)

The Scottish version is:

"You do not have to say anything. But anything you do say may be noted in evidence."

(Sharp-eyed tropers will note that this is an unqualified right to remain silent. The reason for Scottish people enjoying this unqualified right whilst suspects in England or Wales do not is because Scotland has its own legal system. However, this unqualified right has to be balanced against other features of Scots law. Prior to the Cadder case (decided in October 2010), for example, the accused in Scotland had no right to consult with a lawyer before being questioned, whereas those in other parts of the UK did. Source: Scottish Government website.)

A frequent TV practice is for a senior officer to yell "You're nicked!" before a junior officer recites this caution. The traditional response is for the arrested party to announce either:

  • "I've been framed - it's <insert name of villain> who dunnit. Honest, guv. Cor blimey. Luv a duck."
  • "It's a fair cop."

The speech is done so often it may merely be subtitled as "Recites Caution", or "Reads him his rights"

For the version used in the United States see Miranda Rights. For anything not US or UK see Reading Your Rights. Compare Don't Answer That, for when a lawyer (or other ally) reminds a suspect that he doesn't have to say anything.


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  • At the end of Clockwise, an unseen officer rattles through the charges against Brian, before ending with this phrase.
    Arresting officer: You are charged with the theft of a silver Porsche sports coupé. Furthermore, there are various charges relating to the theft of certain items of gents' clothing, including an ecclesiastical vestment, and a wallet containing approximately one thousand and two hundred and thirty pounds in cash. Do you wish to say anything? You're not obliged to say anything unless you wish to do so, but anything you say will be taken down in writing and may be used as evidence.
  • Heard briefly in Hot Fuzz when Nicholas arrests the chav shoplifter.
    • Averted in the same film, where Angel arrests Skinner, there is a complete reversal of his "procedural correctness in the execution of unquestionable moral authority", as he states the cause for arrest and supporting evidence yet fails to caution them. They are promptly dearrested afterwards anyway due to a lack of corroborating evidence.
  • In The Pirate Movie, an "updated" dream-like retelling of The Pirates of Penzance, the lead policeman reads "Anything you say may be taken down..." to which all the Stanley daughters yell "Knickers!"

  • Older Than Television: In the Sherlock Holmes novel The Sign of the Four, it's given as "it is my duty to inform you that anything which you may say will be used against you".
  • Spoofed in Incompetence, the comedy novel by Rob Grant, where the caution takes up an entire chapter and basically amounts to "anything you say (or don't say) means you're both guilty and fully understand your rights". There is also a simplified version, for suspects who don't understand the full version:
    "You don't have to say anything, but if you don't, bad things will happen to you. You can ask for a lawyer, but if you do, bad things will happen to you. Do you understand, or shall I read the full version again?"
  • In The Minority Council by Kate Griffin, this is used in an incantation to catch a monster (along with a roll of police tape and similar paraphernalia).
  • Discworld:

     Live Action TV  

  • In the first series of Life On Mars, Sam Tyler stubbornly continues to recite the post-1994 version of the caution in 1973. Each time, another cop or the arrestee tells him he's got it wrong. And at one point, he catches himself, tries to remember the old version, and comes up with the Miranda warning from the US.
    • In an obvious Shout-Out in the second episode of Ashes to Ashes (2008), Alex Drake bribes Gene Hunt into nicking the perp she's sure is the right man (but Gene is unconvinced of) by letting Gene stamp her bum. To his credit, the Gene Genie backs her 100% during the arrest, to the point of dragging an old man down a flight of stairs by his pajamalegs, but when Alex tries to give the kid his caution, Gene loudly says "That's not how it goes!"
      • In another episode of Ashes to Ashes, Gene and Alex have finally cornered a very nasty character. Gene proceeds to read him his rights, but being Gene, does his own version: "Anything you say will be taken down, ripped up and shoved down your scrawny little throat until you choke to death! Gene Hunt, chapter 1, verse 2."
  • Always recited in Line of Duty when the AC-12 is conducting an interview. It's particularly important as the officers of AC-12 are Internal Affairs, so nearly everyone they interview or interrogate is a police officer suspected of being bent. There is also routinely a discussion of the interviewee's right to be interviewed an officer of at least one rank superior, which sometimes creates issues for the officers who are initially ranked as Detective Constables before eventually being promoted to Detective Sergeant and Detective Inspector.
  • Episodes of A Touch of Frost have been set both before and after the 1994 changes (which introduced the "But it may harm your defence" line). Those set shortly after the change had a running joke in which Detective Inspector Frost would keep forgetting the new wording, usually having to read it out from a piece of paper in his pocket.
  • Almost always when a criminal was arrested in the long-running ITV drama The Bill. In one 1994 episode, a hardened con starts to say he knows the drill, only to be baffled by the new version.
  • Obviously, Law & Order: UK.
  • Not the Nine O'Clock News did a comedic riff on this: "Anything you say will be taken down and used in evidence." The deadpan response; "No, no, not the face. Ow. Argh. Stop it, you're hurting me." The Policeman dutifully writes it all down...
  • A detective in the Doctor Who special "Planet of the Dead" arrests the companion du jour by saying "You do not have to say anything, et cetera, et cetera..." which (as pointed out by Doctor Who Magazine in the issue after its transmission) meant the arrest could potentially be invalidated. Made moot by the fact the Doctor frees her.
  • Downton Abbey has the police who come to arrest Bates giving a form of this — the arrest took place in the period after the police were officially advised to inform suspects of their rights (the Judges' Rules of 1912), but before a national standard phrasing was set.
  • Inspector Jack Regan's take on this in The Sweeney was inevitably "You're fucking nicked!"
  • In Suspects, this caution is usually accompanied by vigorous verbal protest from the arrestee and the officer often has to say "Do you understand?" several times.
  • In the Granada adaptation of Sherlock Holmes story "The Norwood Builder," they add a line where Holmes advises his client McFarlane that—because Lestrade has turned up to make an arrest in the middle of their interview—anything McFarlane says will be entered into evidence.
  • IN SPACE! in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Meld". Lon Suder is told by Tuvok (Voyager's Chief of Security) he doesn't have to say anything under Starfleet Directive 101, but he calmly confesses to the crime anyway.

     Newspaper Comics  

  • A strip of The Perishers had a crab being arrested and told "anything you say will be taken down" to which he quickly designated a person and an item of clothing.


  • In the 1985 Doctor Who Radio Drama "Slipback", a Cowboy Cop recites his own version of the pre-1994 caution:
    "You have the right to remain silent, but I wouldn't encourage you to do so. Anything you say will be taken down, altered to my satisfaction and used in a court of law to send you down for a good many years."
  • In an episode of Elephants To Catch Eels, smuggler Tamsyn Trelawney and customs officer Captain Marriot have swapped places for a charity event. Upon apprehending Marriot, Tamsyn informs him that "Anything you do say will be drowned out by the sound of us laughing"


Video Example(s):


Standoff at square

DI Rachita Ray tries to speak to a psychotic man after he used a knife to stab an unarmed officer. She's able to get the man to surrender and drop his knife despite having armed officers ready to fire if the man does something to hurt Ray with his knife.

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