What is a voluntary police interview?
A voluntary interview is a method employed by the police to question individuals without the need for an arrest or formal custody booking. This approach helps save time and resources for the police, streamlining the process of conducting interviews with potential suspects. In some cases, the interview can be scheduled at a time convenient for both parties.
However, despite its seemingly informal nature, a voluntary interview is still a serious matter. The individual being interviewed is suspected of committing a criminal offence, and as such, the police will commence the interview with the same caution as if the person had been arrested. It’s important to note that anything you say or choose not to say during the interview can be used against you in a court of law.
What are the consequences if I decline to attend?
Although it’s labelled as “voluntary,” it’s not advisable to outright refuse to attend such an interview. If you decline, the police may opt to arrest you and proceed with a standard police interview instead.
Is it advisable to consult with a solicitor before a police interview?
It’s crucial that if you receive an invitation to participate in a voluntary interview, you seek legal representation to safeguard your legal rights from the outset. Despite the term “voluntary,” a voluntary interview should not be perceived as an informal conversation with the police. As soon as you become aware of allegations against you, whether you are innocent or guilty, it’s advisable to engage the services of a criminal law solicitor. They can explain your rights and provide support during this process, which can be intimidating.
Is it necessary to have a solicitor at the police station?
Having a solicitor present is essential to protect your interests. They will offer advice in your best interest and guide you through the process. You have a legal right to have a solicitor present when you are under arrest, attending a police station voluntarily, or being interviewed by the police as a suspect, regardless of the location. You can contact your own solicitor, but if they are unavailable or you do not have one, a duty solicitor is available 24/7. Their role is to provide you with as much support as possible throughout the legal proceedings.
Can we help?
Should you find yourself in this situation and need some advice, get in touch with our criminal team – it won’t cost anything for a chat.