Criminal law

This article serves to give an overview and some tips as to what to expect and how to behave during a Police Interview.

It follows from an earlier email as to what to expect when attending a Police Station prior to a Police Interview.

Your rights are contained under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. (PACE).

Principally, you have the following rights, and this list is illustrative and not exhaustive:

A. Right to silence, but such silence may adversely affect your case if you later wish to rely upon something which you did not earlier mention in interview;

B. Right not to incriminate yourself, but again, A above applies;

C. Right to make a telephone call to let someone know you have been arrested;

D. Right to obtain independent legal advice;

E. Right to seek medical attention, if you require it;

F. Right to consider and review, PACE.

G. Right to a copy of the tape recorded interview;

And now, some tips:

1. Never underestimate the intelligence of the Police. They are in the business of investigating facts and whether a crime has been committed and to what extent you are involved, or whether you are withholding evidence;

2. Always speak politely and give the Police the appropriate level of respect. Indeed, acting in any other way, whether you have or have not done something right or wrong, will give the impression that you have something to hide. Manners cost nothing;

3. Always seek Legal Advice. It is a fundamental right that you are entitled to consult with a Lawyer. There is a duty Solicitor scheme always available. Be patient; Don’t be flustered. Wait to receive that advice and do not be scared or embarrassed to withhold speaking until you have received such advice. Interviews can be deemed inadmissible if correct procedure is not followed.

4. Answer the question being asked of you. If you don’t know an answer, do not say anything that enters your mind just to please the Police Officers, or to end an Interview earlier. Your attempts to be helpful, if what you say is not true, will lead you into further complications during further interviews.

5. Don’t feel bullied, or flustered by the way in which questions are put. In this country, Police will not physically hurt you. They may put questions designed in a passive/aggressive manner, to intimidate, but nothing more than that. They are not however, permitted to do that and your Lawyer will or at least should intervene during the questioning, to prevent such a line of questioning.

6. Nowadays, Police Interviewing Techniques follow a methodical course of questioning.Police are well-trained to establish facts.

7. Don’t pick and mix what questions you want to answer or not answer. There may be good reason not to give any answer at all, but then you are likely to be advised to give a ‘No Comment’ Interview at all. An example of a no comment interview, is when the Police appear to be fishing for evidence where they have insufficient evidence at that time. The Solicitor attending, may during the interview for the purposes of record give an explanation as to why no response will be given at that time.

David Rosen is a Solicitor-Advocate, qualified to represent in open Court in all proceedings, Criminal and civil litigation. He is a Partner and head of Litigation at Darlingtons Solicitors, highly rated solicitors based in Furnival Street, London EC4, and a visiting associate Professor of Law at Brunel University.