Voluntary Interviews

Leading solicitors with decades of experience in voluntary interviews

Increasingly the police are looking to deal with investigations by way of voluntary interviews. The police use voluntary interviews as a means of questioning people without arresting them or formally booking them into custody. This uses up less time and resources for the police and is a more efficient way for them to deal with the interviews of suspects. It is also less intrusive for the person being interviewed as they are not arrested and often the interview can be arranged at a mutually convenient time.

Despite the more informal feel to a voluntary interview the person being questioned is still being asked questions as they are suspected of committing a criminal offence. The police will use the same caution at the beginning of the interview as someone who has been arrested:

“You do not have to say anything. But, it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.”

It is vital that if you are invited to attend a voluntary interview you are legally represented to ensure your legal position is protected from the outset. As the wording of the caution illustrates a voluntary interview is not an informal ‘chat’ with the police. Voluntary interviews are recorded and anything you say can be used as evidence against you should the matter go to court.

What could happen after a voluntary interview

After a voluntary interview is concluded, the police will either continue making enquiries into the alleged offence or report you for summons. This means that a decision will be made based upon the evidence in the case and the account you have provided in your interview. If the police do decide to charge you with any criminal offences, a postal requisition will be sent to your home address requiring you to attend the local Magistrates’ Court on a specified date.

Do I need a solicitor?

Often the police will tell you that a voluntary interview is “just a chat” and nothing formal. This is untrue and misleading. You will be asked questions about the commission of an offence and everything you say will be recorded and can be used at any future court hearings.

It is important to have representation at the police station, as your solicitor can obtain information from the police about the offence for which you are to be interviewed about. This is called disclosure.
You will then be able to discuss this with your solicitor in a private consultation and give your account. Your solicitor will advise you whether to exercise your right to remain silence, whether to answer the questions, or whether to provide the police with a prepared statement setting out your legal defence. Your solicitor will also be present throughout the interview to ensure that you are questioned fairly. Your solicitor will advise you as to the likely outcome of your case and make representations to the police about alternative disposals rather than going to Court. Other disposals include a Caution, Fixed Penalty or Restorative Justice.

You have a right to free and independent legal advice and should not attend a voluntary interview without representation.

How much does it cost?

Walker Law can advise you and represent you at the police station completely free of charge. The fee is paid by the Legal Aid Agency. There is no means test and no paperwork for you to complete.

Please call Walker Law Ltd on 01344 300193 to speak to a solicitor and arrange your representation.

Recent Cases for Voluntary Interviews

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