You are at work or home and you receive a call from the police asking you to attend a specified police station at a specified time so that they can ask you some questions. Is this attendance compulsory? Do I need a solicitor? What happens if I say no and do not attend? Is this a ‘real’ police interview?
The above is a situation that more and more people are finding themselves in.
If you receive a call from the police asking you to attend the police station on a voluntary basis you are entitled to free legal advice in the same way that you would be if you had been arrested and interviewed. You can inform the police that you wish to have a legal representative present and they will arrange for the duty solicitor to attend at the relevant place and time. Alternatively, you can make your own arrangements for a solicitor to be present.
These ‘voluntary’ attendances may seem informal in nature, however they are essentially a formal police interview under caution. This means that you have the right to remain silent and anything you do say will be recorded and can be used as evidence in court.
You are not under arrest at a voluntary attendance at the police station, hence why they are called ‘voluntary’ attendances. This means that you are not obliged to attend the station, and if you do, you can leave at any time. If you choose not to attend or to leave whilst at the police station, the police may arrest you if it is necessary to their investigation.
If you find yourself being asked to attend a police station on a voluntary basis to answer questions in relation to a criminal matter, please call one of our offices and we can arrange for a member of our Criminal team to attend with you. If you need assistance out of hours please call our 24 hour out of hours and police station service on 0800 3047740.