Police Voluntary Interviews – what you need to know
Arresting people and ‘locking them up’ costs money, time and man power. All of the things that any Public Sector service is increasingly short of these days. The Police are no exception. When a Criminal Allegation is made a Police investigation has to be launched, enquiries have to be undertaken and interviews have to take place. For all of the reasons above, together with budget cuts and changes to legislation, the police are increasingly inviting those suspected of committing an offence to be interviewed about it voluntarily rather than be subject to an arrest.
So what does this mean for you?
- Voluntary interviews can take place at your home, at the police station or at an alternate suitable location
- Voluntary interviews involve the police asking you questions about your involvement or suspected involvement in a criminal offence
- Voluntary participation in an interview means that you are not under arrest and can terminate the interview at any time ( although if you chose to do this you may well then be arrested in order for the interview to be concluded)
- Voluntary interviews are conducted under what is known as the Police “Caution” – this is a verbal legal warning given at the beginning of the interview and is exactly the same as if you were under arrest. Amongst other things, it means that anything you say during the interview may be used as evidence. For this reason, a voluntarily interview is ordinarily audio recorded, may be visually recorded and hand written notes made throughout.
- If you are interviewed by the police under caution, whether that is as a volunteer or under arrest, at the police station or in your own front room, you are entitled to FREE and independent legal advice. The police MUST advise you of this right before you are interviewed.
- These interviews are NOT just “ a quick chat to help us with our enquiries”.
What ever you are lead to believe, saying the wrong thing without proper legal advice in some instances could see you charged with a criminal offence or summoned to court irrespective of the strength of the evidence against you.
- Legal advice will delay the process and it will take much longer to deal with on the day.
Protecting yourself with adequate legal advice prior to and during ANY interview with the police is your Legal Right. Absolutely no delay can come from exercising this right and interviews can be arranged at a convenient time to suit both yourself and a your legal representative ensuring that you have peace of mind and support throughout the entirety of the investigation process.
Why should I have a solicitor present in the interview?
- A legal Aid Solicitor is Free.
- Our Solicitors are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week and can provide an immediate response service.
- It is your Legal Right to have a solicitor present, use it.
- Criminal Solicitors are experts in this field of Law and can provide you with both protection and advice to ensure the best outcome is achieved for you and your family.
- Our Solicitors are totally independent of the police
- The police are more likely to disclose to a solicitor the evidence they hold. There is no duty upon the police to provide you with the same information prior to an interview.
- In some instances a solicitor is able to negotiate an outcome on your behalf
- If the investigation concerning you remains on going, we are able to ensure that the police are conducting their enquiries as expeditiously as possible, keeping you informed every 28 days and pushing for progress on your behalf.
- After the interview, we remain contactable to answer any questions you may have and offer any reassurance you may need up to and beyond the conclusion of any investigation.
If you or a family member or friend have been contacted by the police and you are worried about obtaining the right advice call one of our specialist team on 01642 247656 or our 24 hour helpline on 07860679929.
Watson Woodhouse – We are on Your Side!