Have you or a family member/friend been asked to attend a voluntary interview with police or another law enforcement agency? If so, it’s important you understand exactly what you are being asked to do and obtain advice before attending your interview. Seeking legal advice at this stage is important, even if you believe yourself to be innocent. If you have been detained by the police or asked to attend an interview, call us today.
Knowing your rights
Do I need to attend a voluntary interview?
The term voluntary interview can be confusing. Although you can say no, this could result in the police deciding to arrest you so they can carry out a standard police interview instead. Therefore, it is so important that you obtain specialist advice when the police make the first contact with you. Our team of specialist lawyers can liaise between you and the investigating officers in arranging the date and time to suit you.
When the police are investigating an allegation, they will often contact a suspect on the telephone if they haven't already been arrested and invite them to the station for a voluntary interview.
Investigating officers are trained in methods like this to put a suspect off their guard so that they feel relaxed and cooperative - often incriminating themselves in the process.
Do I need a solicitor?
Absolutely yes. Any communication you have with an investigating police officer must take place either through a solicitor or in the presence of a solicitor. If you don’t have a solicitor present at your interview, it is very easy to say the wrong thing which could lead to your arrest. Having legal representation by your side to advise you during the interview reduces the risk of you saying the wrong thing or incriminating yourself.
It’s important to know that there is no such thing as an ‘off the record chat’. Even things that you say on the phone to a police officer can be used in court against you.
Occasionally, officers have been known to say that waiting for a Solicitor will take longer and if you want a matter dealt with quickly and offer to go ahead without one.
Under no circumstances should you decide not to have a Solicitor present during an interview, even if you believe you have nothing to hide.
The police interview always forms part of the prosecution case and is often the start of your defence; it is essential you take professional expert advice.
The first stage in a Police interview is called 'pre-interview disclosure.' This is when information about the allegation is provided by the police to the Solicitor.
There is no duty for the police to provide before or during the interview all the information in any witness statements they have taken, although the solicitor can ask questions of the interviewing officer during disclosure but will often only be able to get limited information.
An attitude of caution should be present in the solicitor's advice to the client about whether to make any comment in an interview at all.
If you do not have a solicitor present with you then you will not be offered disclosure, in effect, you will go into the interview unprepared, which puts you at a huge disadvantage.
You and your solicitor are allowed time in a private consultation room in the police station to discuss the allegations and prepare your answer to the allegations. This conversation is confidential and does not need to be disclosed to the police.
What happens after the police interview?
This will be decided by the individual case under investigation. For example, if a straightforward allegation of shoplifting is caught on CCTV and admitted in the police interview, the police will decide to make a charge immediately.
If there is no evidence in the case and no realistic prospect of a conviction, the police may decide to result no further action.
In more serious or complex cases, either the police will be required to make further investigations into the crime and/or seek guidance from the Crown Prosecution Service.
In this circumstance, if the investigation cannot be concluded straight away, then the suspect will either be released under investigation or police bailed (with or without conditions).
Initially, the police can only bail a suspect for a period of 28 days, but if certain criteria are met, this can be extended by a senior officer and then further by the courts.
Why choose Broudie Jackson Canter?
Being the oldest department at Broudie Jackson Canter, our over 60 years of experience and excellent reputation across the North West and beyond, means that we are trusted by our clients to secure the best possible outcome. We have worked across the country in courtrooms, police stations and prisons to ensure that our clients have access to fair legal representation.
We have decades of experience in providing expert knowledge and legal advice and will be on hand to make sure you get the legal representation you deserve. Call today on 0151 227 1429 and speak to one of our expert criminal solicitors, alternatively, you can make an enquiry or request a call back at a time that is convenient for you.