A voluntary interview, also described as a Caution Plus 3 interview, takes place at the police station when the person in question is asked to assist with police inquiries. The person called for a voluntary interview is not under arrest and is free to leave at any time. While the police often make it seem like a cosy chat with the authorities, however, the reality is quite different.

These interviews are used by the police as an opportunity to interview a suspect without a formal arrest. If a person refuses or leaves before the interview is over, they can be placed under arrest. The interview is also recorded and can be used as evidence in the case later on.

What are volunteer rights during a police interview?

A person who has been invited for a voluntary interview has several rights. The first and most important one is their right to free legal counsel. By law, the individual can request to have legal representation present. However, many police officers make it seem that the suspect’s request for a solicitor will result in the case being taken more seriously. This often deters people from requesting one, which might not be the smartest idea.

In case the individual is below the legal age, they have the right to a parent or guardian’s support present during the interview. An adult must be present with them throughout any other processes, including intimate searches and identification procedures.

If the police suspect the individual of committing an offence, they must caution them at the beginning of the interview. The interviewee has the right to know that anything they say during the interview can be used to build a case against them.

Key difference between voluntary and standard police interviews

The basic difference between the two interviews is that the suspect is placed under arrest and is put in police custody before a standard interview. This has made voluntary interviews quite popular, as the police don’t have to hold the suspect. They can just ask the individual to volunteer the information.

However, the police officer in charge must set out the aim and purpose of the interview and in form the individual before questioning them. The individual also has the right to ask for disclosure about possible allegations and relevant information about the investigation.

Refusing a voluntary police interview

Even though the interview is voluntary, it is just as serious as an interview under caution. There is a chance that the individual can be arrested during the process,or that they are asked to give a standard interview whilst under custody. In that case, there is a risk that the individual might be prevented from getting legal advice from their chosen solicitor.

Have you been asked to come in for a voluntary interview?

If the police have asked you to come for a voluntary interview, it might be in your best interest to go. It’s important to remain calm,as there’s usually no need to panic. However, you must find a genuinely good and experienced lawyer to assist you during the process. An experienced solicitor can clarify the various aspects of the interview and guide you throughout the process while safeguarding your rights.

Contact our team of criminal defence solicitors today to arrange representation for your voluntary interview at the police station.

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