In recent years, we have seen an increase in people being invited to a voluntary police interview, rather than interviews under arrest. It’s not just for small crimes either. There have been instances where both young people and adults have been questioned via voluntary police interview for allegations of sexual offences, serious fraud and money laundering.
What is a voluntary police interview?
Although it may sound optional, it generally is not. You will receive a call from the police, inviting you to a voluntary police interview. This could be at the police station, at your home, or at work. If any special requirements need to be made to accommodate the interview, they will be adhered to.
At this point, you should be told that you are able to get free legal advice before the interview. Alternatively, you can bring a solicitor of choice with you to the interview, having discussed the allegations prior to it.
Remember that you should not be asked or obliged to answer any interview questions outside of the formal interview setting.
The importance of a solicitor at a voluntary police interview
Understanding the reasons you are being questioned and the motivations of the police can help to better identify an approach to the interview. Having a solicitor who regularly deals with the police will ensure that there are no unexpected questions or things you haven’t planned for. A solicitor can also make sure that you have been given disclosure about why they wish to speak with you.
In some instances, the interviewers may try to trick an interviewee into admitting something. Prepare a robust defence with an expert criminal lawyer and you will be in good stead to navigate the interview with them by your side.
During the interview
The police should state the purpose, aim and objectives of the voluntary interview. You will be made aware that it can be terminated at any time.
Be aware also that failure to comply, or to turn up, can lead to arrest. You may also be arrested when you arrive at the police station despite the invitation being ‘voluntary’.
After your interview
You may be ‘released under investigation’ (RUI) or released with bail conditions. Sometimes the police can be slow in getting back to you with a decision, or the case may be ongoing. Your solicitor will keep track of the progress with the police and where necessary, put pressure on them to make a decision. They will keep you informed throughout.
Instruct a solicitor you can trust
At Slater Heelis, we don’t judge. We believe everyone is entitled to a defence and will work with you towards the best possible outcome. The team comes very highly recommended, in fact, we are ranked within the Top 10 Crime teams in the UK on Review Solicitors.
Call us on 0161 969 3131 or leave us some more information for a call back here.