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Providing a ‘No Comment’ Interview at the Police Station

A police interview can be a stressful experience for anyone. The idea of being a suspect in a criminal investigation and facing potential serious charges is a daunting prospect whether you are arrested or are asked to attend a voluntary interview.

One of the options available to you in a police interview is to exercise your common law right to silence and provide a ‘No Comment’ response to questions put to you by the police.

In the UK, as stated in the caution issued by the police prior to the interview, everyone has a right to silence. A suspect is not obliged to answer any questions put to them. Since anything you say can be used against you in court, by giving a ‘No Comment’ interview, you are exercising your legal right and avoiding the risk of inadvertently incriminating yourself.

Another benefit of providing a ‘No Comment’ interview is that you are able to level the playing field between you and the police by putting the prosecution to proof regarding the allegations.

The police have extensive resources at their disposal and provide the disclosure that is handed to yourself or your solicitor at the police station upon their arrival. On some occasions, the police may decline to disclose certain information that you may deem relevant to the allegation and to your response in interview.

By exercising your right to silence, you are able to place the burden of proof onto the police so they have to work harder to prove their allegations against you, especially when the allegations are serious. This right can prevent you making incomplete statements or inaccurate statements which you may later have to rely on in court, especially if you feel like you are under a lot of pressure, are especially nervous and have not been able to review all the evidence against you.

A potential limitation to providing a ‘No Comment’ interview is that the Court may draw on something called ‘adverse inferences’ if you do not mention a fact which you later rely on for your defence in court. This means that the court could come to a negative conclusion regarding your lack of an explanation or refusal to share information crucial to your defence or the case at the earliest opportunity.

Although this seems counterproductive, an adverse inference may not be drawn if you are able to provide a reason to remain silent. Examples of reasons can, in some circumstances, include,

  • The seriousness of the allegations,
  • Lack of disclosure,
  • The complexities of the case,
  • Length of any potential sentence,
  • Mental and physical vulnerabilities at the time of the interview.

Requesting a solicitor to provide you with advice and assistance at your police interview is the best course of action when determining whether a ‘no comment’ interview outweighs the other options available to you. It is important to note that this approach is not always suitable for everyone and it depends on a case-by-case basis where a qualified legal professional can advise.

Contact our leading crime team now on 0808 271 9413 or request a call back, to obtain independent legal advice on the best way forward in your particular case.

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