It is vital to get legal advice before being interviewed. Do not make the mistake of thinking that you can deal with it yourself. We will happily provide immediate and urgent advice.
It is vital that you understand your legal rights to silence and to have legal advice on the limits to police powers.
If you have been detained by the police, you are entitled to legal advice. We offer a 24 hour service in relation to police station custody and will attend police stations to give you advice 365 days of the year.
The Initial Contact by the Police and the initial 'chat in the back of the Police' car or 'down the station.'
When the police are investigating an allegation, they will often contact a suspect on the telephone if they haven't arrested them already and invite them to the Police Station for 'a chat', often saying things like 'we need to hear your side of the story' or 'I'm neutral in this, we just need to investigate it.'
Investigating offers are trained in methods like this to put a suspect off his or her guard so that he or she feels relaxed and cooperates in full with the Police on their terms, often incriminating themselves in the process.
It is very important that any communication you have with an investigating Police Officer takes place either through a Solicitor or in the presence of a Solicitor. Even things that you say on the phone to a police officer can be used in court against you, there is no such thing as an 'off the record' chat.
Sometimes a police officer will not even explain that coming into the station 'for a chat' can mean being interviewed under arrest by appointment. A person can attend at the Police Station on this basis, not having had time to organise the Solicitor of their choice beforehand, and find themselves in court the next morning having been kept in a cell overnight with a Duty Solicitor they didn't choose. The solution is to never discuss anything to do with an allegation directly with a Police Officer without first having a Solicitor there. A lawyer of your choice can be provided on a legally aided basis for free, and a police officer will never have reason to be surprised if they hear from your lawyer and not you at first.
Occasionally, officers have been known to say that waiting for a Solicitor will take longer and if you want a matter dealt with quickly then they go ahead without one. Solicitors are obliged to attend the Police station within 45 minutes.
In some cases, it has been heard that people are even told they do not need a Solicitor. Under no circumstances should you decide not have a Solicitor present during a Police Station 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. In fact, well trained officers will use this to their advantage, purposely withholding information to ambush the client with new evidence, either later during the recorded interview or afterwards in court. The solicitor will ask questions of the interviewing officer during disclosure, but will often only be able to get limited information. With this in mind, an attitude of caution should be present in the solicitor's advice to the client about whether to make any comment in interview at all.
NOTE:- 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 totally unprepared; which puts you at a huge disadvantage.
The Solicitor and client are allowed time in a private consultation room in the police station to discuss the allegations and what the client's answer to the allegations is. This conversation is confidential and does not need to be disclosed to the police.
Going to the police station for an interview is never a pleasant experience. If you or a family member has been contacted or arrested by the police, call us on 01227 918436 or 07808 519245 24hrs Emergency Line. Our Lawyers are happy to assist in most police stations in England and Wales.
For additional information on the areas we cover, please contact us or call us on 01227 918436 / 0871 915 2468.