Cartwright King Solicitors are here to advise and represent you in relation to any PACE interview under caution you may be invited to. We are able to represent you wherever you are based and our national team has a substantial amount of experience in this area.
“PACE” stands for the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, which was enacted in 1984 following a number of high-profile miscarriages of justice, and doubtless numerous others. The PACE Act applies to all agencies that investigate criminal offences, such as the Health & Safety Executive, City Councils, the UK Border Agency, the DVSA, and many others. It contains various Codes, which set out how the police must deal with suspects and others. This gives rise to the term “PACE interview”. It is what they do in The Bill, but usually with less shouting.
Importantly, PACE gives you the right to have a solicitor present in your interview, and there is no charge for this. This means that if there is a breach of the PACE codes, or some other irregularity, we are able to intervene on your behalf.
Why have I been invited?
You have been invited to attend an interview because the officers suspect you of committing a criminal offence. The officers may well have told you what offence you are suspected of in some detail, or hardly any, or they may have kept it vague; these are all tactics used by investigating officers.
You cannot be interviewed unless the officers have reasonable grounds to believe that you have committed an offence. We often find that officers have told clients that they have “nothing to worry about”, or that they “just want to clear something up”. If this were true, then the officers would not have the grounds to interview you; they must think that you have committed an offence, and you need help to ensure that your side of things is explained.
Even if you are certain you have not committed an offence, you will need assistance in ensuring that this is explained clearly, so that the investigation does not drag on for months or years.
On the other hand, if you think you have done something wrong, you will need help ensuring that you put across your mitigation, an argument for a non-court disposal, or some other important point.
When you arrive, the officer might well try to arrest you. An arrest is something that often leads intimate samples being taken, or drugs tests conducted. In certain circumstances, it is possible to argue against this. It is important that it is done correctly, otherwise any later argument that your records ought to be destroyed can be undermined.
If you are arrested, you will be put before a Custody Sergeant, who will ‘book you in’, and ensure that your rights are complied with. Representations about anything you or your solicitor are unhappy with can be made at that point.
You should note that not all investigating agencies have the power of arrest. We can advise you about this in advance of an interview.
Once inside, your solicitor will be given disclosure by the officers. This is a formal indication of what they suspect, and what offence they think this amounts to. This important step in the process only applies if you have a solicitor. The main advantage for you is that it helps to minimise the chance of being taken by surprise in your interview.
After this there is a chance to have a consultation with your solicitor. This is a confidential conversation that the police are forbidden to listen to. Your solicitor will tell you what the allegation is, and the relevant law. They will take your instructions and advise you as to the best approach in interview; whether to answer questions, “go ‘no comment’”, or submit a prepared statement. Each of these have their advantages, but choosing the wrong one can have very damaging long term consequences.
In your interview the officers will ask you questions about the offence. A solicitor will stop and questions that are ambiguous, unfair, unduly leading, oppressive, too intimate, or irrelevant. It is notoriously difficult for an unrepresented suspect to do this.
After this, you would usually be either bailed, or sent away until a decision is made.
How we can help?
Cartwright King is one of the country’s largest criminal defence firms. We have experts all over England, and can attend anywhere around the country with you. In certain circumstances, we can also attend in Scotland or Northern Ireland.
Being interviewed is often terrifying. It is always confusing, and of course officers will try to catch suspects out. Remember that interviewing officers are specially trained, and often have years of experience behind them. It is only fair that you have an expert there to assist you.
Our fee’s - Legal aid or Fixed Fees explained
Most interviewees benefit from legal aid, meaning that there is no cost to them for having a solicitor in a police station.
Where legal aid is not available, we will agree a fixed fee with you in advance, so that you can plan.
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