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Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a question about policing or the law? You may be able to find the answer here.

Through our frequently asked questions section we aim to help you find the answers you need without having to call us to ask for information. We've provided answers to questions on a range of topics which are regularly asked of police forces up and down the country.

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5 years old

  • must attend school or home education
  • can see a film certified by the British Board of Film Classification as a U or PG, at a cinema, accompanied
  • can have bank/ building society account in own name

7 years old

  • can draw money from Post Office or savings account

10 years old

  • can be held criminally responsible

12 years old

  • can see a film certified by the British Board of Film Classification as a 12A, in a cinema, unaccompanied

13 years old

  • can get a job (if there is a local by-law allowing it) (can only work for a certain amount of hours)

14 years old

  • is responsible for wearing own seatbelt
  • can ride an electrically assisted pedal cycle
  • can get a job (can only work for a certain amount of hours)

15 years old

  • can see a film certified by the British Board of Film Classification as a 15, at a cinema

16 years old

  • can get married with one parents consent
  • can have sex
  • can leave school after official leaving date
  • can join armed forces with parental consent (but not permitted into war zone)
  • can work full time
  • can claim social security benefits
  • can get a licence to drive a moped
  • can sell scrap metal
  • can join a Trade Union
  • can buy a pet
  • can choose your own doctor
  • can buy premium bonds
  • can drink beer, cider or wine with a meal in a restaurant if accompanied by a person over 18
  • can play the National Lottery
  • can sell National Lottery tickets
  • can change your name
  • can have premium bonds in own name
  • If receive Disability Living Allowance at higher rate, can obtain provisional category B entitlement on a driving licence
  • If a member of the Armed Forces, can make a privileged will

17 years old

  • can obtain a licence to drive vehicles (except certain heavy goods ones)
  • can be sent to prison
  • can be a street trader
  • can give blood

18 years old

  • can buy alcohol
  • can obtain a licence to sell alcohol
  • can drink alcohol in a pub
  • can buy tobacco/cigarettes
  • can appear before an adult court
  • can make a will
  • can buy an air rifle
  • can act as an executor of a will
  • can bet
  • can get married without parents consent
  • can buy a lighter refill
  • can sit on a jury
  • can vote
  • can stand as a candidate in an election
  • leave home without parent or guardian's consent
  • can buy fireworks
  • can sue and be sued
  • can see a film certified by the British Board of Film Classification as an 18, at a cinema
  • can hold a mortgage
  • can buy land/ houses
  • can go to war
  • can go abroad to perform professionally
  • can get a tattoo

21 years old

  • can drive any mechanically propelled vehicle (providing relevant tests passed)
  • can adopt a child

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Answers in this FAQ section are provided by the 'Ask the Police' website. Produced by the Police National Legal Database (PNLD) team, 'Ask the Police' is an official police site approved by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC). All FAQ answers are © PNLD.