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Called in for questioning by the Police, what rights exist?

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Re: Called in for questioning by the Police, what rights exi

Postby Scienke » Fri May 19, 2017 2:57 pm

Yes that would make sense.
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Re: Called in for questioning by the Police, what rights exi

Postby Spankymonkey » Fri May 19, 2017 5:25 pm

Scienke wrote:If you're being questioned by the police, is there any difference between remaining completely silent and saying no comment? I can't see why there would be, but the law can be a little peculiar at times.


Recorded silence cannot be misconstrued by anyone other than the interviewer. In which case the response should be further silence.

The reason for 'no comment' as a reply is a psychological one. Human beings have an almost innate urge to respond to questions. Saying 'no comment' rather than nothing at all, fulfils that innate urge. Many interviewees will sit and stew in silence feeling an ever increasing urge to respond. Repeating a 2 word mantra usually satiates that.
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Re: Called in for questioning by the Police, what rights exi

Postby Scienke » Fri May 19, 2017 6:01 pm

Spankymonkey wrote:
Scienke wrote:If you're being questioned by the police, is there any difference between remaining completely silent and saying no comment? I can't see why there would be, but the law can be a little peculiar at times.


Recorded silence cannot be misconstrued by anyone other than the interviewer. In which case the response should be further silence.

The reason for 'no comment' as a reply is a psychological one. Human beings have an almost innate urge to respond to questions. Saying 'no comment' rather than nothing at all, fulfils that innate urge. Many interviewees will sit and stew in silence feeling an ever increasing urge to respond. Repeating a 2 word mantra usually satiates that.


Yes I can see how from a psychological perspective this could be the case. There is no way I could sit in silence when having questions fired at me.
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Re: Called in for questioning by the Police, what rights exi

Postby shootist » Fri May 19, 2017 7:00 pm

OTOH, remaining completely silent can be so much more fun. I suspect that most police officers would have great difficulty in dealing with an interviewee who refuses to say a single word, even when asked his name. If the legal rep (if present) is made aware and refuses to assist with any statement to the effect that the interviewee is even in the room. It can be even more entertaining if the suspect, if arrested, refuses to enter the interview room, and if the interviewing officer is daft enough to forgo the interview then the "if you fail to mention when questioned" becomes important.
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Re: Called in for questioning by the Police, what rights exi

Postby Spankymonkey » Fri May 19, 2017 7:04 pm

shootist wrote:It can be even more entertaining if the suspect, if arrested, refuses to enter the interview room, and if the interviewing officer is daft enough to forgo the interview then the "if you fail to mention when questioned" becomes important.


Very true. Tactically it would be better to remain completely silent in the interview room in the hope they give up. If you refuse to enter the interview room then they will have to fish around for a home office approved tape recorder to bring to you. That's if they can find a fresh set of batteries for it.
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Re: Called in for questioning by the Police, what rights exi

Postby dls » Fri May 19, 2017 8:23 pm

Sorry, but this is just silly. It is easy. The police will always, and properly seek co-operation. The suspect does not have to co-operate at all. If he does not then the caution is recorded on paper (as it is on reception to the custody suite). There are certain things police can do - properly - to confine the suspect to a cell if arrested.

After that, it is up to a court whether they wish (privately) to laugh at an utter non-co-operation, or to draw proper conclusions from the silence.

Generally a detainee's usual desire to co-operate needs to be treated with great caution. There need to be clear positive and thought through reasons for answering questions, before doing so, and if so the sensible course is usually to answer as to name and address, and then for the legal adviser to step in to say that on his advice no further questions will be answered.

There are times when there are clear reasons for answering questions. That may be through the offer and delivery of a written statement, or otherwise.

The truth is that a balanced approach is usually best. Many officers will display an approach which recommends non-cooperation, but in appropriate circumstances, and with an officer who earns proper respect, co-operation is proper.

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Re: Called in for questioning by the Police, what rights exi

Postby Scienke » Fri May 19, 2017 9:09 pm

shootist wrote:OTOH, remaining completely silent can be so much more fun. I suspect that most police officers would have great difficulty in dealing with an interviewee who refuses to say a single word, even when asked his name.


Yes although at some point the detainee might need to ask for a drink of water or to use the toilet. This would spoil the effect of the silence.
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Re: Called in for questioning by the Police, what rights exi

Postby dls » Sat May 20, 2017 4:10 am

The absolute No no is to answer some questions, and then not answer others.

People may feel easier with either silence or with no comment, there is no effective difference.
It is polite to answer the question as to your name and ID, but you are not required to be polite. It helps however as an opportunity to also state that your intention is not to answer any further questions. That helps you stick with it. No explanation should be given, no acknowledgement of very innocent questions about 'how is your mum' or similar. Each and every word beyond 'no comment' invites disaster.
It may be that a question comes up during interview which you want to answer. Do not. A statement can be submitted later. That is not as good as an answer given in interview, but far better than mixing responses with no comment during the interview.

All generalisations have exceptions.
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Re: Called in for questioning by the Police, what rights exi

Postby Spankymonkey » Sat May 20, 2017 4:29 am

dls wrote:After that, it is up to a court whether they wish (privately) to laugh at an utter non-co-operation, or to draw proper conclusions from the silence...


DLS's description fails for prejudice.

A court cannot draw 'proper' conclusions from silence. It's failure to mention facts when questioned where proper inferences can be drawn. And I see nowhere in the CJPOA where 'laughing' at a detainees refusal to answer questions is part of the courts deliberations.

dls wrote:The truth is that a balanced approach is usually best. Many officers will display an approach which recommends non-cooperation, but in appropriate circumstances, and with an officer who earns proper respect, co-operation is proper.


The suggestion that you should co-operate with a police officer because he earns respect is about as silly as advice gets. He's not your mate. He is an employee of the state whose job it is to conduct an investigation to find evidence of guilt. Respect does not come into it when your freedom is at stake.
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Re: Called in for questioning by the Police, what rights exi

Postby shootist » Sat May 20, 2017 7:26 am

DLS's responses are accurate and sensible. I introduced an element of humour that I believe had a practical side also, but it would only be suitable for people familiar with the process. There are circumstances where complete cooperation with an interviewing officer may be the best route, although I would caution the need for a very competent legal adviser in making this decision.

The problem comes when the investigating officer is either biased, a common situation and not out of malice, incompetent, or even corrupt ('noble cause corruption' still exists). If you then provide some sort of defence in an interview there is the possibility that the investigating officer will then direct his efforts at sabotaging the explanation offered. The trouble is, the biased, incompetent, and/or corrupt officers do not wear badges that indicate their status and some of them appear quite nice and helpful to their victims.

My personal preference, as a generalisation, would be a silent, or no comment, interview, either followed by, or preceded by, a written statement.

It can sometimes be very difficult to remain silent, as has been said. One of my sons was interviewed for public order offences when he was attacked in the city centre and committed the unforgivable sin of defending himself. He relied 'no comment' to every question in a fairly lengthy interview, the tape of which I later reviewed. At one point, the senior CID officer asked "When you were laying on the ground and the three lads were kicking you, why didn't you just stay on the ground." At that point I would have had to tell my legal advisor to demand sight of the officer's warrant card as the question was just too stupid for an even halfway competent police officer, and I wanted to check that he wasn't the station cleaner who was having a laugh.

It may be worth noting that on the advice of the duty CPS he was charged and had to appear in court where he was roundly and completely acquitted on nothing more than the entirety of the evidence that the prosecution presented as evidence of his alleged offending, this being the CCTV of the incident. I believe that this was done because he went 'no comment'. All that was needed was to actually view the video accurately to acquit, which is what happened, but it was clear that CPS would rather have stuck needles in their eyes than reverse a decision of one of their own. No fewer than three CPS solicitors viewed the video in the course of adjournments, each one only commented to the effect that he was fighting and that was enough to go to court.
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