Do not speak to the police about any allegation until you have taken free advice from our expert Criminal Defence Lawyers.
What is a Voluntary Interview?
Most police interviews are carried out during a person’s detention at the police station after being arrested on suspicion of committing a crime.
There has been a huge rise in recent years in the number of ‘voluntary interviews’ (sometimes called a ‘voluntary interview under caution’). In accordance with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, a person who attends a police station voluntarily, for the purpose of assisting a criminal investigation is referred to as a ‘voluntary attender’.
Initial Police contact
This is usually a knock at the door or a telephone call from a police officer who asks you to come into the police station to “have a chat”. It is common practice for the police to make it seem like there is nothing to worry about. In reality, the police will want to conduct a recorded interview in exactly the same way as if you were detained in custody. What you do (or don’t) say during the interview could severely damage your position should the matter proceed to court.
Many people find this initial contact distressing – especially if they have never been in trouble with the police before.
Does it mean the matter is not serious?
Absolutely not. Just because a matter is dealt with by way of a voluntary interview does not mean that the police are taking the matter lightly. The police now routinely interview suspects voluntarily for serious allegations such as robbery, drugs matters and serious sexual offences.
Does it mean that I will not go to court?
No. It is likely that at the end of the voluntary interview, you will be ‘reported for the consideration of prosecution’. This means a lawyer from the Crown Prosecution Service will determine whether or not there is enough evidence to bring the matter to court. Your answers during your voluntary interview will form part of that evidence.
Do I need a Solicitor?
Legal advice and representation is free of charge for everyone who attends a police station for a voluntary interview. Contacting a solicitor to attend the interview with you does not make you look guilty. Indeed, it is likely to reduce the chance of you being charged.
Despite how friendly the police have been with you, they are not on your side and you should never speak to the police about any allegation until you have taken legal advice.
If you have been asked to attend a police station for a voluntary interview, contact our specialist Criminal Defence Solicitors on (0115) 950 3231 without delay. We can attend interviews at very short notice.