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25 July 2014
Budget cuts are biting hard across our public services and the Police have not been immune from this. One of the ways they are dealing with falling budgets is the rise of the so-called Voluntary Interview.
Locking people up costs money, and lots of it, and the Police are increasingly dealing with people who are accused of less serious or historic offences in a different way. People are more and more being invited to be interviewed voluntarily, either by visiting a local police station by appointment or by allowing officers to come to your home or place of work to ask you some questions.
We are receiving numerous calls from people who have been dealt with in this way and have then received a summons or postal requisition to attend court. Many of these people have simply not been aware of the gravity of submitting to being interviewed by the police in this way and have been questioned about some very serious offences without the benefit of a solicitor, something that they would never have done had they been arrested.
So, what do you need to know about Voluntary Interviews?
If you agree to take part in a voluntary interview it will be explained to you that you are not under arrest and you can terminate the process at any time. Beware though, if you do so you may find yourself being arrested so that the interview procedure can take place.
The interview will be carried out under caution- this means that the content of a properly carried out voluntary interview has exactly the same evidential value as one carried out under arrest.
Most importantly, whenever and wherever you are interviewed under caution by a police officer you are entitled to free and independent legal advice, simply put this means that you can have a solicitor of your choice to attend to represent you, and it won’t cost you a penny whether you are interviewed at a police station or in your front room.
So the message should be clear - being interviewed on a voluntary basis isn’t just a formality or having a quick word with the police, it is just as serious as if the police had arrested you to carry out the interview.
In the event that you are contacted by the police and asked to undergo a voluntary interview one of our Specialist Criminal Solicitors is available to represent you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, just give us a call on 01924 387171 or on our out of hours emergency line on 07876 505337.