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When Does a Chat Become an Interview?

Posted in Crime News

When Does a Chat Become an Interview?
Being asked to attend a police station voluntarily is a serious matter.  Voluntary interviews at the police station are becoming increasingly common.  There are certain key points that need to be borne in mind if invited to go to the police station for a voluntary interview.

1.       You are suspected of committing an offence.  You will be interviewed under caution regarding that offence which means what you say could be used in evidence against you.
We often have clients come into see us explaining that they have “given a statement” to the police.  In fact they haven’t given a statement they have been interviewed under caution.  They are the suspect in an alleged offence but this often comes as a surprise as they believed that they were simply assisting the police with their enquiries.  On occasion we have come across people who believed they were making a complaint against someone else’s behaviour, for example in an assault allegation where they themselves believe they were the injured party.

2.       Just because it is a voluntary interview doesn’t make it any less serious.
The fact that you are not being arrested does not necessarily make the matter any less serious.  The police are now routinely questioning people for extremely serious offences such as assaults and sexual offences, including rape.  Being interviewed voluntarily makes it no less likely that you will be prosecuted for an offence and have to go to Court.

3.       You are entitled to FREE legal advice and representation
Anyone being interviewed by the police for an alleged offence is entitled to free legal representation.  There is no financial means test and it makes no difference whether you are under arrest or whether you are there voluntarily.  It is a decision for you as to whether you want to be represented by a solicitor.  Often people think it will delay matters but that is rarely the case.  There are many advantages to getting a solicitor to represent you at a police interview and often events at the police station are key to any Court proceedings that follow.
Ask yourself this question:  If the police came in the middle of the night and arrested you in front of your family and took you to a police station where you were detained in a cell would you ask for a solicitor. 

The answer is most likely yes.

Given the above comments, the answer shouldn’t be any different for a voluntary interview.  If you require legal advice or representation in relation to a police investigation you can contact us 24 hours a day for FREE on 0800 304 7740.
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