Can I refuse a police interview?

Yes, you can refuse to undergo a police interview. If you are not under arrest, you are free to decline a voluntary interview request from the police without any legal repercussions. However, if you are placed under statutory arrest and in police custody, the situation is different. While you cannot be physically forced into an interview room, the police are still entitled to conduct an interview.

If you are in custody at a police station, you can refuse to enter the interview room. In such cases, the police are required to use portable recording equipment to conduct the interview, which often means via their body-worn video. This ensures that the interview is documented and conducted according to legal standards, even if you choose to offer ‘no comment’ during the interview.

It’s important to be aware that while you have the right to remain silent, choosing not to answer police questions can, if the matter proceeds to court, result in legal implications. Under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, adverse inferences may be drawn from failure to provide facts that are then relied upon at court. This is in the police caution which states:

“You do not have to say anything but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned, something that you later rely on in Court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence”.

Therefore, it is advisable to seek legal advice before deciding whether to refuse an interview or remain silent during questioning.