When you are interviewed at the police station this should always be tape and or video recorded. Recording of interviews was introduced to protect against unfair and coercive interviews.
Police Station Lawyers
Recording of interviews has not however wholly removed the problem of coercion or unfair tactics by police officers during detention at the police station. Even having a lawyer may not fully protect suspects from a miscarriage of justice, some lawyers are not as proactive as others, and in the rarer case, they may even assist the police in securing an unfair confession from a suspect.
Off the record police comments
Although interviews are recorded conversations in police cars, at arrest scenes and even in the custody area and cells in the police station may like not be recorded. Although these days police custody areas do tend to have audio and video recording often these are unclear or may not cover all areas in the police station.
It is in this unrecorded environment that gives the police the opportunity to speak to suspects; this may involve attempting to befriend or disarm a suspect. Comments that are designed to reassure the suspect that they will be released shortly and that minimise the significance of the situation will subtly coerce or influence a suspect; namely which tends to make a suspect trust the arresting officers and to make them believe they are acting in their best interests. We are often told by suspects who have instructed us that the officer in their case was ‘extremely nice’ and seemed to ‘genuinely care’ about them – it is only after the event, once they have been issued a police caution do they realise the officer’s demeanour may have been designed to make them compliant.
Even if a suspect is able to resist any coercive techniques employed by the police, either subtle or overt, the police may wrongly conclude that ambiguous comments in an interview amount to a confession. The interviewing police officer may, when reporting to the CPS or their supervising officer, distort the content of the interview. They may misrepresent what you have said to such an extent so that it appears you have made a unequivocal confession – this is known as ‘verballing’.
Police Station Cautions
If you have received a police caution as a result of unfair police interview tactics or “off the record” methods then please get in touch. We have successfully removed many cautions and overturned unfair convictions.