You may have been contacted by a police officer, inviting you to a voluntary police interview in Berkshire. This could be at Loddon Valley, Reading, Newbury, Maidenhead, Slough, Bracknell, or Pangbourne police stations.
This can be very worrying, especially if you have not been in this situation before.
It is crucial to note that you have the right to be legally represented during the interview and an expert solicitor from Reeds can guide you throughout this process.
Police station interviews often have a key bearing on the outcome of the investigation and whether a prosecution is initiated. For this reason, it is essential to appoint an experienced solicitor and to prepare as much as possible prior to the interview.
The term ‘voluntary interview’ suggests that your attendance is optional. However, if you refuse to attend the interview, the officer may decide that it is necessary to arrest you in order to ensure that an interview takes place.
In our experience, it is sensible to be wary of an officer who invites you into the police station ‘just for a chat’. An interview under caution only takes place when you are suspected of committing a criminal offence and anything you say in the interview can be used as evidence against you. By playing down the seriousness of the situation, the officer discourages the suspect from seeking independent legal advice.
Obtaining legal advice at an early stage is therefore crucial. If you would like one of our solicitors to attend an interview with you, please contact us through our contact page here. Alternatively, you can phone 0333 240 7373, or email us at email@example.com.
For more information about Voluntary Interviews Under Caution, find our services page here.
How can a SOLICITOR FROM REEDS help?
We will contact the investigating officer on your behalf and obtain pre-interview ‘disclosure’ in advance of the interview. We will obtain as much information about the allegation as possible and determine whether the police have taken statements from witnesses. We will also find out what other evidence the police have, such as CCTV, cell site data or forensics. Crucially, you are in a far better position by knowing the full details of the case against you before you provide your account.
During a private consultation prior to the interview, we will discuss the evidence obtained from the police and take your account. This will enable us to attend the police station with a plan of action in hand.
There are three main interview strategies:
1. PROVIDING A FULL COMMENT IN A VOLUNTARY POLICE INTERVIEW
In some cases, we may advise you to simply answer all of the questions put to you. This may be the most persuasive way to deny an allegation. However, this approach can bring with it various risks, such as giving inconsistent or unconvincing answers whilst feeling nervous or under pressure. At worst, individuals incriminate themselves by giving information to the police, which they would otherwise be unable to prove.
2. NO COMMENT IN A VOLUNTARY POLICE INTERVIEW
It may be in your interests to simply make no comment at all in the interview. There are various situations where this may be the best approach. For example, where there is no plausible defence to put forward or where there are risks attached to giving a particular account. However, it is important to note that the court or jury may draw an ‘adverse inference’ from a no comment interview, if the case later goes to trial.
3. PROVIDING A PREPARED STATEMENT IN A VOLUNTARY POLICE INTERVIEW
We can draft a written statement on behalf of our client, which carefully outlines their account, without going into areas which do not help them. This can be extremely effective in avoiding the pressure of police questions whilst ensuring our client’s position is put forward. This strategy avoids the risk of inconsistent or poorly worded answers to questions, which can happen when under pressure during the interview.
WHY ARE POLICE offering me a voluntary interview instead of arresting me?
In order for an arrest to be lawful it must be necessary. This will often be the case where evidence needs to be obtained from within a suspect’s property or where evidence needs to be seized from a suspect. If the alleged offence took place some time ago or there is no longer the need to seize evidence, a voluntary interview will likely be offered. If you refuse to attend the voluntary interview, the officer will likely then have the power to arrest you in order to carry out the interview.
DOES A VOLUNTARY POLICE STATION interview MEAN THAT it is not serious?
In short, no. The police conduct voluntary interviews for a wide variety of offences, including assaults, controlling & coercive behaviour and sexual offences. Any police station interview involves an alleged criminal offence, which could result in a criminal record.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER A VOLUNTARY POLICE INTERVIEW?
After the interview, the police officer will decide whether any further investigation is needed or whether a charging decision can be sought from the Evidential Review Officer or the Crown Prosecution Service.
Following the interview, we can review whether there are any proactive steps that we can take on your behalf to undermine the case against you. For example, we can explore what defence evidence can be obtained to support your account. In some cases, we can make persuasive written representations to the officer, requesting that all charges are dropped.
A proactive approach can sometimes play a crucial role in averting a prosecution.
INSTRUCTING A SOLICITOR FROM REEDS
Our private crime team in Berkshire offers an unrivalled level of experience and skill in this area.
We can normally provide a fixed fee quote to cover a pre-interview consultation as well as representation in the voluntary interview. Rest assured that we will do absolutely everything we can to secure a positive outcome for you.
LOCAL REPRESENTATION IN BERKSHIRE
With our local office in Reading, Reeds Solicitors have a huge amount of experience in representing clients at every police station across Berkshire. We can offer virtual consultations for convenience.
We also have good working relationships with many investigating officers, which can be of assistance.
Loddon Valley Police Station, Rushey Way, Lower Earley, Earley, Reading RG6 4PS
Berkshire police conduct the majority of the voluntary interviews at Loddon Valley Police Station, which has a custody area as well as room for voluntary attendances. It is the biggest station in Berkshire and parking is available as well as free parking on the surrounding residential roads.
READING POLICE STATION, Castle St, Reading RG1 7TH
Reading police station has three voluntary interview rooms. There are a few parking spaces outside the police station, however these are often taken. Alternatively, there are 2-hour paid parking bays on Castle Street and parking is available at the Broad St Mall.
NEWBURY POLICE STATION, 12 Mill Ln, Newbury RG14 5QU
The custody suites at Newbury police stations were recently closed, however voluntary interviews are still conducted there. Parking is available outside the police station as well as on Mill Lane nearby.
MAIDENHEAD POLICE STATION, Bridge Rd, Maidenhead SL6 8LP
Parking is available at the multi-story car park by Sainsburys, which is a 5-minute walk away.
SLOUGH POLICE STATION, Windsor Rd, Slough SL1 2HH
Numerous pay and display parking bays are available outside the police station.
BRACKNELL POLICE STATION, The Broadway, Bracknell RG12 1AD
PANGBOURNE POLICE STATION, 9 Reading Rd, Pangbourne, Reading RG8 7JA
Parking is available at the police station car park.
We recommend exercising your right to a solicitor at your earliest opportunity in all cases. Reeds Solicitors is an award winning and leading top-tier criminal defence firm. For legal advice and representation, please contact us through our contact page here. Alternatively, you can phone 0333 240 7373, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Examples of Representation at the police station
Sexual assault allegation at Reading Police
Reeds were instructed by a client who had been accused of causing a person to participate in a sexual act without consent. The interview took place at Reading Police Station. The Solicitor contacted the officer in the case a week before the voluntary interview to obtain disclosure regarding the details of the allegation. The client was extremely nervous and benefitted from a conference prior to the interview, where the process was explained. The solicitor outlined the interview options in detail, having taken comprehensive instructions regarding the client’s version of events. The client was advised to give a full account in the police station interview, to clearly deny the allegation. The Solicitor was present throughout the interview, ensuring that the police complied with their duties under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act as well as providing support to the client. Ultimately, the police made the decision to take No Further Action.
Assault at Lodden Valley Police Station
Our client contacted us having been recommended to Reeds by another local firm regarding an interview at Loddon Valley Police Station. There was an allegation made against a young person who had been accused of assault. Given the age of the person who was being interviewed, his parents felt it was crucial to have a conference with the Solicitor before the interview took place. During this appointment, the client provided thorough instructions, which amounted to a defence to the allegation. He was able to speak about the incident in a less stressful environment, which gave the solicitor the best information from which to provide advice. He was extremely anxious about speaking to the police officer given the nature of the offence alleged and the disparity in age between the suspect and the interviewing police officer. Taking this into account, he was advised to submit his defence in a detailed prepared statement, which the Solicitor drafted. This was read out by the solicitor at the beginning of the recorded interview and following this the client exercised his right to silence. After further contact with the police, it was decided that No Further Action would be taken.
Attempted Rape at Reading Police Station
Reeds were contacted by a person who was accused of attempted Rape and required to attend a voluntary interview at Reading Police Station. The client was a young adult who had never been interviewed or arrested by the police before and was understandably worried about the entire process and the consequences of being interviewed about an offence of this nature. The Solicitor contacted Reading CID and had the disclosure emailed to him the day before the interview. Arrangements were swiftly made for a private consultation with client at our Reading office prior to the interview taking place. The Solicitor went through the disclosure, took instructions and outlined the advice. The client was able to talk about what had happened in a more comfortable environment and this assisted him to feel at ease. Once all the appropriate and necessary advice had been provided about what to do in the interview and the process, both the client and the solicitor walked to the police station for the interview. The client gave a full comment interview, denying the allegation and providing their version of events. Once the police had investigated the lines of enquiry raised in the interview, the case resolved with No Further Action being taken. The client was understandably very pleased and relieved with the outcome.
REVIEWS FOR VOLUNTARY POLICE INTERVIEWs
“Tom Brymer assisted me in an extremely complex and emotionally difficult situation I faced after the death of my wife. Throughout Tom consistently kept me up to date and provided strategies and advice over and above what I had experienced previously. Nothing was too much of an ask for Tom. Other firms I don’t believe look at the whole picture as Tom did. I do not use this term lightly, but Tom in my eyes is a true hero”
“Nathan Seymour-Hyde approached the case very professionally and covered every possible angle of it to ensure a positive result with no criminal conviction. He was amazing from beginning to end and would most definitely recommend him to anyone who found themselves in the position I did.”
“Having never needed or used a solicitor before and with little knowledge of the legal system. I’m very fortunate to have chosen Reeds and Scott Primmer to handle my case. Highly recommended”
“Stuart Matthews goes above and beyond and is extremely thorough, with a determination to see justice done. He has a down to earth nature which makes him very approachable. We couldn’t have been happier with our choice of solicitor.”
Reeds Solicitors is an award winning and leading top-tier criminal defence firm. For legal advice and representation, please contact us through our contact page here. Alternatively, you can phone 0333 240 7373, or email us at email@example.com.
Tom Brymer is a partner at Reeds and has recently been named a Recommended Lawyer by the Legal500. Tom has been practicing in the Berkshire area since 2005 and has dealt with a wide variety of offences in that time in both the Police Station as well as the Magistrates’ Court, offering guidance to clients going through this often challenging process. Click here to learn more about him.
Nathan Seymour-Hyde is Senior Solicitor within our Private Crime team and has vast experience representing clients in police interviews across Berkshire. Click here to learn more about him.
Scott Primmer is a solicitor in the Magistrates Court team, based in our busy Oxford office. Scott is a very capable Police station and Magistrates Court duty solicitor, and can therefore provide advice to clients arrested for, or charged with, any criminal offence. Click here to learn more about him.
Stuart Matthews is a Senior Solicitor and Founding Partner of the firm. He is recognised as a Leading Individual in the Legal 500. Click here to learn more about him.