The Young, the Vulnerable and the Police


As a specialist firm of criminal defence solicitors, Milne Moser make the welfare of all detainees and volunteers at the police station our priority.  For the young and vulnerable a trip to the police station can be a very daunting and a very damaging experience indeed.

Too often young and vulnerable people go without valuable legal advice because they simply don’t realise it is there and it is free or because they fail to realise how damaging a visit to the police station can become.

A tape recorded interview, retained as evidence and used against you often months down the line is exactly how bad it can become.

Is it that serious?

Damaging, ill-conceived, misinterpreted or off the cuff comments made to a police officer under caution can so often mean the beginning of the end for a young reputation, prospects and dreams of a future career or college place.

It really can be that serious.

Have you ever sat back and considered just how many job applications now involve a Criminal Records Bureau check?  Statistics reveal that in 2011 the equivalent of 1 in every 17 adults underwent a CRB check, almost 3 million such checks were made during the course of that year alone.  With employment ever more difficult, the fight for jobs, careers and apprenticeships can be made all the tougher by a criminal record.

Equally spending a year travelling can be adversely affected by a criminal record when you realise the need to obtain travel VISA’s.

Appropriate Adults

Young people under 17 years old must have an adult attend the police station to look after their welfare.  Those aged 17 have the option to have such an adult attend.  Vulnerable adults must also attend with another adult.  Adults who accompany people to the police station are called ‘Appropriate Adults.’

It is the duty of every Appropriate Adult to ensure that the person attending the police station understands why they are there and has their rights protected.

Legal Advice is Crucial…and FREE

Specialist Solicitors from Milne Moser are available to attend the police station 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.  That service is provided entirely free of charge under a payment scheme run by the Legal Aid Agency.

We can advise about all aspects of the criminal law and how it may impact on the young or vulnerable client.  Identity procedures, the admissibility of evidence or the retention of samples such as DNA or fingerprints.  All are matters of huge importance.  Is it best to answer questions or ‘go no comment’?  This question alone opens a whole raft of issues that only a specialist solicitor can resolve.

Getting a solicitor on board early means the best possible protection for the rights of those at the police station.

A 24/7 call centre system ensures that if a person is arrested, Solicitors from Milne Moser can be contacted at any time of the day or night.  A call will be made on your behalf if you simply tell the police you would like a Solicitor from Milne Moser.

But I haven’t been arrested, the Police Officer just said he wanted me to come in for a chat.  I don’t need Legal Advice do I?

Yes!

So many people misunderstand the implications of being asked to attend the police station voluntarily.  An interview in those circumstances is identical to those for people under arrest.  Do not be tempted to believe that simply because an attendance has been arranged in advance rather than an immediate arrest being made that the situation is in some way informal. 

It is not.

A voluntary interview is a courtesy extended to those whose immediate arrest is not deemed necessary.  It is not informal and it should not be in any way under estimated.  Such interviews are often used for the young or vulnerable and are exactly the circumstances where the powers of the police and the implications of an interview can be misunderstood.

Attending the police station voluntarily leaves plenty of time for a call to be made to our offices to arrange to have a Solicitor from Milne Moser meet you at the police station to ensure that the rights of the young and vulnerable are protected the moment they set foot in the police station.

And it is a service provided entirely free of charge.

No matter what the allegation, no matter what the circumstances, no matter whether a person believes they are innocent or guilty of an offence; we can offer advice that will assist those answering questions at the police station.

It doesn’t matter whether it is your first time at the police station or your 25th time.  Every case is serious and every case deserves the attention of a specialist.

 

Rachel Broughton

Associate Solicitor

 

#appropriateadult

#fight4legalaid

#crime

 

Source www.bigbrotherwatch.org.uk

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