Anyone detained or interviewed at a police station is entitled to free and independent legal advice. The criminal defence team at Old Bailey Solicitors is comprised of Accredited Duty Solicitors and Police Station Advisers who each have day to day experience of representing clients at the police station in relation to a wide variety of investigations.
Facing an investigation by the police or by some other Government body such as the UK Border Agency, Trading Standards or the Serious Organised Crime Agency can be a very stressful and, sometimes, lengthy experience. Having someone on your side who knows the system and who can provide early assistance with your defence will often be invaluable. In fact, it can often make the difference between a charge being brought and a decision to take no further action. Even where a charge is inevitable, the decisions made at the police station often have a profound effect on the outcome of the case.
Example issues: Whether to answer questions in interview, whether to submit to an identification procedure, whether to allow intimate or non-intimate samples to be taken. The police may be willing to offer you a Police Caution for an offence. Should you accept it even though you don’t think you are guilty of the offence? How long can the police detain you in custody? Are you entitled to make a telephone call, have a drink, some food, a cigarette? These are just a few of the many questions and issues that you are likely to need answers to during a period in custody.
The police, or other prosecuting agency, may invite you to attend the police station by appointment. This does not mean that you will be invited in for a cosy chat. There is a possibility that, once inside the police station, you will be arrested and taken to the custody centre. You may be held for a number of hours while the investigation continues.
There are two widely held but mistaken beliefs:
1. Asking for a solicitor at the police station means you must be guilty; and
2. Asking for a solicitor will slow the process and I will remain in custody for longer.
Having little or no experience of the criminal justice system is reason enough to request the assistance of a solicitor in the police station. That is why the state provides this advice for free. Requesting the services of a solicitor also means that you have someone keeping an eye on the police investigation, ensuring that the duty to investigate expeditiously is adhered to. We at Old Bailey Solicitors adhere to the Legal Services Commission requirement to attend the police station within 45 minutes of being required to attend. In many cases we are present more quickly than that.
Our police station team are on call 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
To contact us for police station assistance call 01444 443030 or 07767 058128 (Sussex) or 07810 883667 (Surrey)
Remember – everyone is entitled to free and independent advice at the police station, regardless of income. If the police tell you that you do not need a solicitor – you almost certainly do!