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Voluntary Police Interviews – approach with caution

12.09.2017

Due to a change in the law regarding bail, the number of voluntary interviews, both at the police station and at home, is on the rise.

People who may be nervous attending a police station for an interview could agree to be interviewed at home. When attending an interview at a police station, the suspect has to be told of their right to consult a solicitor. There is currently no obligation on the police to remind someone of this right if they are being interviewed away from a police station. Frequently what can then follow is a written account of the interview, which may not reflect the answers given as accurately as if the interview had been recorded, nor record whether the interview had been fairly conducted.

Clients should be aware that if they agree to this type of interview, they should ask for the presence of their defence solicitor as legal advice is available in the home free of charge.

The same applies to a voluntary attendance at the police station. The difference between being arrested and invited to be interviewed “on a voluntary basis”, makes it sound far less serious but the consequences can be the same. 

This is especially important for parents to be aware of, if their child is being interviewed. They need to understand in particular that a voluntary interview is still an interview under caution and can have far-reaching effects on the overall legal process.

My advice to anyone is not to agree to a voluntary interview without speaking to their legal advisor first.

John Roberts can be contacted at [email protected] 

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