Tag Archives: under caution

A Voluntary Interview with the police under caution – have free legal advice

Why are there more voluntary interviews by the police?

voluntary interview
A suspect not having the benefit of a voluntary interview

Over a number of years changes were made to the way police conducted interviews with suspects.  Proper safeguards were brought in to ensure that investigations were conducted fairly, particularly in regard to the recording of the questioning of suspects including their access to free and independent solicitors.  This was a direct reaction to ‘confession’ evidence being obtained in far from satisfactory circumstances leading to miscarriages of justice.

Legal safeguards too expensive?

Unfortunately, all of those safeguards cost money.  As a result, although there remains the right to speak to a solicitor and receive advice during interview, in many cases the police now create an atmosphere where if a suspect insists on their right to legal representation they are made to feel that the case will be treated more seriously, or that they will have to be arrested and taken into police custody, or that access to a solicitor will cause significant and inconvenient delays.

As a result, although the police will always offer a solicitor prior to a voluntary interview, the general tone is of the suspect not doing themselves any favours by requesting one.

If I’ve not been arrested are the police treating the allegation seriously?

There might be the expectation that the police ought to arrest those suspected of a criminal offence and take them to the police station to be interviewed.  This will have the natural effect of concentrating a suspect’s mind on the gravity of his situation and will lead to serious consideration as to having a lawyer represent them in interview.

voluntary police interview
No matter how friendly the police they are speaking to you as a suspect

Unfortunately the ‘softly softly’ approach recently adopted by the police might avoid a person having the same set of worries.  A request by a police officer for a ‘quick chat’, either at your home address, a room at the police station, or another place such as the rear of a police car, is because the officer is investigating you for an offence.

The police have reason to believe that you have committed an offence.  They are investigating this allegation.

Why is a voluntary interview important?

What you say in a voluntary interview has the same weight as if you had been arrested an interviewed at a police station.  It remains an interview under caution.

As a result, what a person does or doesn’t say might have the following effects:

  • lead to a conviction where there is no evidence other than an admission
  • result in a charge to court rather than an out of court disposal such as restorative justice
  • the police may issue an unwarranted caution where a person has not given clear denials
  • give an accused problems at trial before either the Magistrates’ or Crown Courts

The gravity of the situation is best shown by the fact that the police police interview under cautionroutinely deal with such serious matters as robbery, drug supply and serious sexual offences by way of voluntary interviews.

Whether you are interviewed while under arrest at a police station or as a volunteer in your front room this will not influence the decision as to whether you will end up in court. This will be influenced by the seriousness of the allegation and the strength of the evidence.  This will include what you have said to the police in any voluntary interview.

Should I have a solicitor in police interview?

Perhaps a better question is why shouldn’t you have a solicitor in police interview?  We have previously written on this subject here, but in summary you ought to seek legal advice for any of the following reasons:

  • a legal aid solicitor will always be free
  • it is your legal right to have a lawyer – use it!
  • our lawyers are experts in the field of criminal law
  • we are totally independent of the police
  • only the police delay your release, not your solicitor
  • a lawyer will give you time to think
  • we can negotiate an outcome with the police
  • the police are more likely to disclose the evidence they hold
  • having a solicitor does not make you look guilty

Instruct a criminal defence specialist now for your police interview

There is an element of truth in the police suggestion that having a solicitor will delay any voluntary interview.  That is only true, however, if we are only called when the police are at your door or you have attended at the police station.

You are likely to know that you are to be interviewed under caution in advance.  As soon as you find out, contact your nearest office to make the arrangement for one of our solicitors or accredited police station representatives to attend.  We’ll need to know you details, where you are to be interviewed and when, and then we will make sure that we are there at the same time as the police.

Alternatively you can use the contact form below and we will then make contact with you.





Interview under caution – can I use a prepared statement?

For many people the thought of being interviewed by a police officer will never cross their mind. Their law abiding lives mean that they will only rarely have any interaction with the Police.  On occasions, however,  allegations can be made which mean the police will have no alternative but to hold an interview under caution.

The importance of an interview under caution

police interview under caution chesterfield solicitorSuch an interview under caution may happen after arrest.  More often in recent times there may be what is called a voluntary interview.  The importance of either type of interview should not be underestimated.  The answers given in an interview under caution will carry the same weight in any court proceedings.  Any responses will also help decide whether a prosecution should be brought in the first place.  As a result, what is said in interview can have life changing effects as a case progresses.

Our expert criminal defence lawyers across all of our offices give daily advice to suspects interviewed by the police.  People choose not to have a solicitor in police interview for any number of reasons.  They may think that they have nothing to hide, or that there is no evidence that they are responsible for any wrong doing.

Free and independent legal advice

Whatever your personal views on the case we would recommend that you always contact one of our solicitors or accredited police police interview under cautionstation representatives as soon as you know the police want to speak to you.  This might be in advance or as you are booked in at the police station.

This advice will always be free of charge to you as we have a contract permitting us to give advice and representation under the legal aid scheme.  The service remains free whether when our office is open or out of hours.

Our advice is always independent of the police and we may help you identify all of the relevant legal issues that will inform your decision whether or not to answer the police questions.

A police interview years after the event

Chesterfield Police Station Representative Rob Lowe

Recently Chesterfield police station representative Rob Lowe was asked to represent a female suspect.  She had been interviewed in 2013 about allegations of child neglect when she was a foster carer. The case was closed with no action but the complainant wished to resurrect the complaint.  The police chose to put additional evidence to our client four years after the original police interview.

As Rob had attended with his client for interview he was able to receive full details from the police bout the new evidence that they had.  Without the benefit of a legal adviser in interview the police are unlikely to give you a similar level of information before the interview.

police interview under cautionIt became clear that although the police wished to ask some questions about some new, but minor, issues that had arisen they also wanted to ask some of the same questions that they had asked four years earlier.

As his client had chosen to have legal advice, she had the opportunity of speaking with Rob in private before the interview took place.  He had the opportunity of providing her with detailed advice about her options.

Bearing in mind she had already answered the majority of the questions, Rob was reluctant for the police to have a further opportunity to seek answers that may be inconsistent bearing in mind the passage of time.  Any differences in her account could weigh against her in any charging decision even though they would be perfectly understandable.

Submitting a prepared statement

Rob was, however, keen for his client to address the fresh issues that had arisen.  As a result, he drafted a statement that set out his client’s position in relation to these matters.  This statement was read out at the start of the interview.  After that, his client exercised her legal right to silence and refused to answer further questions put.

You will appreciate that a person without the benefit of legal representation may be unlikely to adopt such a course of action.  They are less likely to be confident in refusing to answer the questions the police put in interview.

Our client was refused charge

Following interview the case was subject to a further review and our client was told that no further action was to be taken.  She had been refused charge.  No doubt this was in part due to the comprehensive denials that she had put forward four years ago, but also in part to the position that she adopted in relation to the later interview.

Contact a legal aid specialist in police station representation.

Rob can be contacted at our Chesterfield office on 01246 283000.  This number will be answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year.

You can read some more thoughts on why you ought to have legal advice in police interview here.

Alternatively, if might be that one of our other offices is more convenient.  You can find the details here.

interview under caution
VHS Fletchers crime and regulatory solicitors offices