Interview at the Police Station
Police Station Advice
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If you are required to attend a police station interview or have been arrested, you have the right to representation by a solicitor or a duty solicitor.
Often it is said at police station that it is quicker to proceed without calling out a solicitor but this is often incorrect.
Even people who have been involved with criminal cases before know that they need a solicitor to represent their interest at a police station interview whether under arrest or as a volunteer to advise them whether to comment or not.
You do not have to comment in an interview under caution but if you are charged with an offence and your case goes to trial, the Court can be asked to take into account as evidence the fact that the defendant did not answer questions.
Evidence given by a detained person in interview is only admissible evidence against the detained person if a case goes to Court and not anyone else.
Solicitors are always on hand to advise at police stations 24/7 at MJP solicitors.
In order to decide whether to answer questions in a police station interview under caution where the tape recorded evidence will be evidence against you, you need specialist legal advice on all matters including the seriousness of the allegation, what would be the likely outcome based on the prosecution evidence.
It is a frequent occurrence that people under arrest trying to get out of the police station quickly say things that they would prefer to have left unsaid only to find that by saving a few hours in the police station, they have lost a considerable amount of their liberty.
If a detained person decides to go "no comment" then they can always file their statement containing their detailed response to the allegation which is put forward to the Crown Prosecution Service to decide upon as to whether the case should go to Court or not based on the evidence.
Codes of Practice in the Police Station
The government can make regulations which dictate how the police should perform their duties in relation to arresting people and detaining them at police stations and interviewing them.
The codes are as follows: -
A. Code of Practice for the Exercise by: Police Officers of Statutory Powers of Stop and Search; Police Officers and Police Staff of Requirements to Record Public Encounters.
B. Code of Practice for the Searching of Premises by Police Officers and the Seizure of Property found by Police Officers on Persons or Premises.
C. Code of Practice for the Detention, Treatment and Questioning of Persons by Police Officers.
D. Code of Practice for the Identification of Persons by Police Officers.
E. Code of Practice on Tape Recording of Interviews with Suspects.
F. Code of Practice on Visual Recording of Interviews with Suspects.
G. Code of Practice for the Statutory Power of Arrest by Police Officers.
H. Code of Practice for the Detention, Treatment and Questioning by Police Officers of Persons under Section 41 of, and Schedule 8 to, the Terrorism Act 2000.
The full text of the codes is set out in Appendix A and also on the Home Office website Here
If I do answer questions in a police station, how does that help me? Decide for yourself...
If you say nothing or ´no comment´ at an interview, the court can infer guilt but only if
- you are charged and go to court, and
- you do not give evidence.
The only benefit of talking in an interview is that the investigator (police etc) or prosecution lawyers might decide not to prosecute.
If you admit an offence, it is evidence in court against you as a confession...
If you say anything that is self serving or helps you, it is not admissible in evidence for you.
If you speak out against someone else accused, it is not admissible evidence against them.
The Court have confirmed that where there is an admission with excuses this...
"Equally, the judge may, and should, point out that the incriminating parts [of a mixed statement] are likely to be true (otherwise why say them?), whereas the excuses do not have the same weight. Nor is there any reason why, again where appropriate, the judge should not comment in relation to the self serving remarks upon the election of the accused not to give evidence."
As to written statements the Courts say,
"Although in practice, most statements are given in evidence even when they are largely self serving, there may be a rare occasion when an accused produces a carefully prepared written statement to the police, with a view to its being made part of the prosecution evidence. The trial judge would plainly exclude such a statement as inadmissible."
This clearly invites anyone being asked to comment during an interview under caution to think twice.
How can answering questions in an interview under caution really help you?
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