Beware of the ‘voluntary’ police interview

Budget cuts are biting hard across our public services and the police have not been immune from this. Locking people up costs money and one of the ways they are dealing with falling budgets is the rise of the so-called ‘Voluntary Interview’.

Those accused of crimes are regularly invited to be questioned voluntarily, either by visiting a local police station by appointment or by allowing officers to come to their home to ask some questions.

The police will usually ask a person to come to the police station to “have a chat”. Many people don’t realise that in actual fact, the police intend to carry out a formal police interview under caution. Bhatia Best receives numerous calls from people who have been interviewed voluntarily by the police and then received a summons or a postal requisition to attend court. Many of these people were simply not aware of the seriousness of being interviewed by the police and were questioned about very serious offences without the benefit of a solicitor.

A Voluntary Interview does not mean that the allegation is minor. We regularly represent people at Voluntary Interviews who are suspected of serious offences, such as robbery, drugs matters and sexual offences.

What you say (or don’t say) during your police interview will have a significant impact on your case should it proceed to court.

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.

If you have been asked to attend a police station for a Voluntary Interview, contact our specialist Criminal Defence Solicitors without delay. Legal advice and representation is completely free of charge for anyone who is interviewed by the police.