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False imprisonment - necessity to arrest and the voluntary interview

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Do I need a solicitor when being questioned by the police?

Our actions against police team has successfully secured payments for clients who have been arrested shortly before attending a voluntary interview with the police. Such arrests can be unlawful on the basis that it is not necessary to arrest somebody when they can attend an interview voluntarily.

The grounds for arrest

Generally, a police constable is allowed to arrest a person without a warrant provided:

  1. The person is about to be involved, is suspected to be involved or has attempted involvement in the commission of a criminal offence;


  1. There are reasonable grounds for believing that the person’s arrest is necessary for one of the specified grounds.

For an arrest to be necessary:

  1. The police constable must honestly believe that the arrest is necessary for one of the specified grounds; and
  2. The decision must be one which is objectively deemed to be made on reasonable grounds.

Voluntary interviews

Voluntary interviews are interviews which take place – usually at a police station – where the volunteer agrees to assist the police with their enquiries.

Importantly, the volunteer is not under arrest, but the interview will take place under caution and it will be recorded. This means that it can be used as evidence in a criminal matter.

The issue

Voluntary interviews are increasing in popularity, due partly to the advantage of not having to prove that the grounds for arrest have been met. Police forces should not, however, decide to arrest a person who has been invited to attend an interview voluntarily. The reason for this is that it is not necessary to arrest somebody if they can be invited to conduct an interview voluntarily. 

Our experienced actions against police team have been able to assist in such cases. One client was invited to attend a police station voluntarily but was, on arrival, arrested by the police. Their solicitor at the time raised questions about the lawfulness of the arrest but these were ignored. The client was detained at the police station for a number of hours. Our team reviewed the file and challenged the police on the grounds of the arrest on the basis that it was not necessary. The police paid a substantial sum in compensation.

An arrest can have a profound impact on an individual’s life, causing real harm to them and their reputation. For this reason, the law on whether it is or is not appropriate to arrest must be enforced properly.

False imprisonment claims can be complex and our team of experts are available to help. Should you wish to speak to somebody today, please call 01616 966 229.