Sometimes it will be in a person’s interests to make a statement, if possible, with the advice of a lawyer. It is important, therefore, to request to speak to a lawyer.
It may be desirable to talk to police if the person has a valid explanation for their behaviour: for example, in a case of theft, if they had the consent of the owner. A caution should be given by police to a person whether they wish to speak or not.
A person who, after legal advice, wants to plead ‘guilty’ may wish to talk to police to get on record the exact extent of their involvement or to explain the circumstances of the offence. Where a person wants to surrender to police, a lawyer can assist in preparing a statement of these matters.
If the person doesn’t want to say anything to police, that attitude should be made clear and never changed. They should state their name and address, and words such as “I do not want to answer any questions” and continue to make this answer to every question. There should be no change, even if they are asked about the reason for their attitude.
On completion of the interview the suspect may be taken to an independent police officer (not present at the interview) and will be asked if they have any complaints about the interview, for example, police behaviour, content, any violence or unfairness, and so on. The suspect may then adopt it as their record of interview. This procedure is referred to as the ‘Register of Persons Interviewed’. The suspect may also state any objections they have during the interview itself.
Other People’s Statements
Another person’s statement may be shown to a suspected person. The suspected person is not, however, obliged to respond in any way and should be cautioned first. Responding to another person’s statement or record of interview can be a very dangerous exercise for a person who does not want to plead guilty to any charge that might be laid.