The Risks of Voluntary Interviews

Harriet Pierpoint, associate professor Criminology

Dr Harriet Pierpoint, Associate Professor in Criminology, has written a paper on The Risks of Voluntary Interviews for Criminal Law Review ( Published - 1 Sep 2020). Criminal Law Review is the leading quality journal for all those involved in criminal law. It keeps criminal lawyers up to date with the latest cases and legislation, and includes longer articles analysing current trends and important changes in the law. 

The article considers the increasing use of voluntary interviews of suspects by the police. There are cost savings to be made by using voluntary interviews and benefits to suspects of avoiding the stress of being arrested and detained and questioned in custody. However, voluntary interviews create a ‘parallel system of detention’ but one that does not have the full range of protections. The risks of voluntary interviews are compounded by a piecemeal approach to their application across forces. This article calls for detailed guidance, to be adopted by all forces, to include limits on the length of interviews and number of interviews within a defined period and oversight of the non-custody process by an independent and specially trained officer.