"You got busted!"
Bain to a player who was taken into custody.

The Police Custody is a gameplay mechanic in the PAYDAY series. A heister can be taken into police custody either after being shot down and not rescued within an allotted time (in either game) or after having been downed too many times consecutively without using a Doctor Bag (PAYDAY 2).


Once a heister (whether a human or AI player) has been shot down by the police or otherwise taken fatal damage, they enter a bleedout mode in which the victim is still able to make use of their weapons. In the case of being knocked down by a Taser or Cloaker, this bleedout mode is bypassed, and the downed heister remains in a totally incapacitated state. If not helped up within 30 seconds, they will enter police custody. The bleedout duration is decreased if a heister is downed multiple times in a row (PAYDAY: The Heist).


The custody icon over a team member's health gauge.

After a player-controlled heister in PAYDAY 2 has run out of health and been downed 3 times (1 in One Down mode), they will immediately go into custody upon their next down. This counter is reset by using a Doctor bag or being released from custody. Note that being tased or kicked down does not reduce your health to zero, and bypasses bleedout mode by incapacitating the player instantly. Therefore, these actions in PAYDAY 2 do not count towards this total, though kicked and tased players in PAYDAY: The Heist would still suffer from the reduced "second chance" duration.

A player in custody will be marked with a special icon over their health bar. Any special equipment they carried (e.g. keycards, wooden planks, or meth ingredients) will be given to another player, the host being the first preference. Being granted equipment in this manner will allow players to carry more than the standard amount of said item(s) (e.g. two keycards, multiple sets of meth ingredients, etc...).


218620 screenshots 2014-07-30 00001

A downed player.

When a heister's health meter is depleted, they fall into a vulnerable bleedout phase. In this phase they cannot move and are unable to put down deployables.

Depending on their incapacitation status, downed players can (due to injury) or cannot (Tased/kicked down or fully incapacitated) shout and mark enemies. Taking additional damage in bleedout mode pushes the player into total incapacitation where they lie helpless until saved or gets taken into custody. A player bleeding out can still toss loot bags, shoot and toss grenades.

A downed player will have a timer over their body, along with a yellow outline and icon as to guide the standing crewmates to their location.

A player in bleedout will require help before they expires and enters police custody (see below). By default a downed player will last 30 seconds before entering custody, and upon revival they will have lost an amount of health according to the number of times they've been downed without medical help (PAYDAY: The Heist) or depending on difficulty (both games) and the skills of the person reviving (PAYDAY 2).

In PAYDAY: The Heist, the revive timer also shortens as a player is downed consecutively.

The health deduction is calculated as follows:

PAYDAY: The HeistEdit

  • Overkill and below: -25% base maximum health per down, up to a maximum of -75%. Being downed after the 3rd time will not reduce the player's remaining health any further.
  • Overkill 145+-80% base maximum health on the first down. Being downed the second time onwards will not reduce the player's remaining health any further.


  • Overkill and below: -60% base maximum health on the first down. Being downed the second time onwards will not reduce the player's remaining health any further.
  • Mayhem+: -90% base maximum health on the first down. Being downed the second time onwards will not reduce the player's remaining health any further.

Police CustodyEdit

A player in police custody can only spectate the ongoing assault. A release timer (119 seconds, 210 seconds in PAYDAY: The Heist) will count down if playing on Hard or below which denotes the time that player has to spend in spectator mode before being sent back into play. A hostage highlighted in orange can be traded between assault waves to free them faster, or must be done on Overkill/Very Hard and above to release any arrested teammate. A 5 second delay is present regardless of which the player has killed any civilian or not before the trading can begin, with additional 10 seconds (PAYDAY: The Heist) or 30 seconds (PAYDAY 2) added to the clock per civilian killed by him/her, while on lesser difficulties they will be added to the release timer instead (PAYDAY: The Heist only).

If carrying loot while taken into custody, the bag(s) will be dropped where the player stood.

Once released from custody, the released player will resume the heist with full health and 50% total ammunition for both their weapons. Deployables do not refill.

Being taken into police custody voids the progression of some challenges, or imposes a roughly 5% reduced experience payout for a player should they remain unreleased when the heist ends (PAYDAY 2). Likewise, being released from custody also cancels out certain challenges, though the penalty applies to the whole crew, not just the player who was released.

A heister can be taken into custody as many times as the heist time allows him/her to be, though a single session is hardly ever long enough to last a second arrest unless played on Death Wish, in which the reduced health recovered per down and the sheer multiplicity of the enemy force can result in consecutive downings and eventual custody if the players are overwhelmed.

A heist ends in failure once all human-controlled heisters are in police custody (note that AI-controlled heisters can trade hostages for human-controlled heisters as long as the AI-controlled heister and a hostage or dominated law enforcer is alive).

Hostage TradingEdit

While it is possible to wait for a crew member to respawn on Normal or Hard difficulty, a hostage exchange is significantly faster.

Once a crew member is taken into custody, Bain will automatically attempt to negotiate with the police. However, he cannot negotiate during a police assault. The amount of time required for negotiations is 5 seconds plus 10 in Payday: The Heist and 30 in PAYDAY 2 for each civilian whom the crewmate has killed, and is indicated by the timer next to the crew member's name at the bottom-left corner of the HUD. If multiple crew members are in custody at once, then each of their timers will decrement independently.

Once negotiations are complete, the crew must trade a hostage. If a hostage already exists, then they will be highlighted in orange (Payday: The Heist) / yellow (PAYDAY 2); if not, then the crew must either tie down a civilian or successfully intimidate a law enforcer. Once a hostage is highlighted, they will remain tradable even during an assault.


  • While detrimental for job income, a player who does not aim for the payout can deliberately get taken into custody if they are low on health while out of medical supplies. Provided the heist difficulty is not too high or the player crew has a hostage ready for exchange, the arrested heister can be released with full health and their incapacitation count reset.
    • The same strategy can be used to reset a player's Messiah charge.
  • Note that in PAYDAY: The Heist, once the second-to-last objective has been completed, the resulting assault wave will never end, thus denying a player of a chance to respawn if the remaining time is longer than the escape time, or if a hostage trade hasn't been started beforehand on Overkill difficulty and upwards.
    • This effect is replicated in PAYDAY 2 once the escape objective activates on the GO Bank, The Diamond, and Hoxton Breakout heists. It's also in effect on the White Xmas map regardless of progress after the second wave started.
  • The remaining crew members can make an escape and it would still count as a completed day. In situations where the crew is scattered and only a few are capable of reaching the escape marker, the others can allow themselves to be taken into custody to allow the last player(s) standing to escape. Note that this reduces the "remaining crew" bonus.
    • Playing alone (with or without AI) and entering custody while in the escape area completes the heist successfully, but the player will receive no cash payout at all as the "remaining crew bonus" becomes a negative value and deducts the entire available payout.
  • If a player in custody leaves the game, the bot character that player was previously playing as will remain arrested. Should another (new) player join the game, they will be automatically released. Quitting and rejoining a game in progress will not release you from custody, though.
  • Awkwardly, it is possible to get into custody in most stealth heists. If, during stealth, the player drops from a high position, hitting the ground means they're downed. If they wait long enough, they will get into custody. It is not possible to be released on Very Hard or above, as even with hostages, no trade is possible due to not breaking stealth, and thereby not starting an Assault Wave.
    • In Birth of Sky, if a player jumps off the plane without a parachute and hits the ground, the victim will simply be taken into immediate custody rather than being killed outright by the impact.  
  • Sometimes, due to desync, player's bleedout counter might stay at 0 seconds longer than it's supposed to. This gives their teammates more time to help them out.
  • It is possible to escape a heist while under the effects of Swan Song.
    • Incapacitated players can still escape and complete a heist as long as they are all on the escape zone.


PAYDAY: The HeistEdit

Diplomatic Diplomatic
Perform a hostage trade.
Left for dead Left for dead
Finish a heist in custody while all your team mates are alive.
Last man standing Last man standing
Beat a heist after having been the only one alive.
Blood in, blood out Blood in, blood out
Trade all the butchers in SLAUGHTERHOUSE. To complete this challenge, you will have to have played the heist from the start.
Don't lose face Don't lose face
Beat all heists on OVERKILL difficulty without anyone getting traded from custody. To complete this challenge, you will have to have played the heist from the start.


I Did Not Have Sexual Relations With That Bulldozer I Did Not Have Sexual Relations With That Bulldozer
While wearing the "42nd" mask, trade 7 civilians.

Gameplay • Heists • Skills & Perk Decks • Weapons & Equipment • DLC