A new series of the Channel 4 TV programme 24 Hours in Police Custody has just hit our screens, aiming to offer an insight into what happens after a suspect has been arrested. The reality is that for those arrested, having prompt and accurate advice is crucial.
Zahir Nazir is an Accredited Police Station Representative within our Criminal Law department, having over 15 years’ experience of acting for clients at police stations across Yorkshire. Zahir has represented clients in relation to a wide number of offences, from Theft to Murder, and speaks Urdu and Punjabi.
Below, Zahir offers guidance as to what to expect (and what to do) if you are arrested and taken to the station.
1) The right to silence still exists, albeit with risks- but it is very much there. That being said, you will need to know the implications of giving an account to the officer questioning you. Every case is different and what a representative may advise in one case will not necessarily work in another;
2) Remember that your entitlement to advice starts right from the moment that you are arrested. The Police will, at the very least, allow you to make a call to your legal representative once you get to the station- don’t delay in doing this;
3) Upon their arrival at the station, your legal representative will be provided with what is known as ‘disclosure‘- this is detail about the offence being investigated.
The Police will usually offer some level of disclosure, though it can be limited. Your representative will work to obtain as much detail as possible about the circumstances of the offence, and the evidence that has been obtained so far.
Disclosure may be provided in stages, in which case it can be difficult to make sense of what is happening; your representative will guide you through this process, advising you each step of the way. If you are unrepresented, the Police are not going to provide you with much in the way of information, save for surprising you with it whilst you are being questioned;
4) Following disclosure being made, you are entitled to a private consultation with your representative prior to the interview. This is absolutely crucial. You are also entitled to a break in the interview in order to have such a consultation;
5) If it is appropriate, your representative will draft a prepared statement on your behalf. This step must be carefully considered and an experienced representative will discuss the pros and cons with you before doing so;
6) Increasingly, the Police are offering people the opportunity to attend an interview on a voluntary basis. This means that you are not under arrest but it is still an interview under caution and the same rights and entitlements apply.
Remember:- everyone is entitled to free advice and assistance at a police station. If you require us to attend at a police station on your behalf, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We can be contacted on 0113 200 7400 but if your case is urgent and outside normal office hours, we can be contacted on our 24 hour emergency phone number which is 0765 910 6872.