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Automatic right to legal representation at police station

Comment 4th July 2010

Under current legislation, anyone being interviewed in connection with any crime by the police must ask if they would like to have a solicitor present. My idea is that this should be automatically be done without them needing to ask.

Why does this matter?

It seems to me that the very essence of our justice system needs to fit in with the liberty and freedom we hold so dear. By expecting the average man in the street to think clearly if arrested, and particularly for something they did not do, and then to be subjected to trained interrogation officers who will at all times reassure them that they have nothing to fear, whilst trying everything they can to gain a conviction, need the protection that a solicitor would afford from these same trained officers to be the norm, and not something that needs to be requested.
I do know of people, who out of naivety and sheer terror at being arrested, now have criminal records because they truly believed in the honesty and integrity of the police, and so when interviewed, elected to not have a solicitor present as they were completely innocent of the crimes they were charged with, and so expected to truth to be enough. The result of this decision, the aforementioned criminal records.
Now I understand that there is a need to curb public expenditure on legal aid, but surely introducing this type of compulsory safeguard can only lead to better, more accountable policing, and the overall reduction in poorly led and expensive investigations, better run investigations, and therefore a better level of police performance as a measurable commodity, and less innocent people with records or worse.


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