Picture the scene. Two of our finest uPSD in open necked shirts, 2 days’ beard growth, unbrushed hair, dirty shoes and trousers with numerous creases – none of which are vertical in an interview room somewhere in a metropolis. Also present is a solicitor of considerable renown, a Fed Rep who is a detective and an accused officer who is also a detective. The Defence “Team” are finely turned out, dressed in suits with ties (three windsor knots, no less), polished shoes and sweetly scented with deodorant and after shave.
The background to this matter is that the Detective has been accused of fraud. The specific circumstances are not really necessary but it is important to realise that the Detective is not culpable either criminally or misconduct. It is a malicious allegation against him. We all experience them and understand that the process needs to grind on before we can get to the other side and get on with the rest of our lives. He has about 27 years police service, of which 24 is within the CID arena, specialist units, Regional and National Crime Squad, etc. He is a man of considerable experience and talent who is recognised by everyone as a classic exponent of a competent and efficient Police Officer dedicated to his work.
The interview started and the Detective was cautioned. He was then asked by the uPSD to explain what he understood the caution to mean!!!!!
What is with having police officers explain the caution? Why do uPSD caution an officer and then have him or her explain the meaning of the caution back to them? Do they not realise that the bit at the beginning of your career where they spend tens of thousands of pounds whilst you learn the caution is the one and only time that any police officer should be asked to explain the caution? Is it uPSD doing an audit to see if they got value for money or is there a government department collating how many police officers don’t understand the caution?
I am actually considering getting in the sh1t just so, when asked to explain the caution I can say, “I understand the caution to mean that I do not have to say anything but it may harm my defence if I do not mention when questioned something I later rely on in court. Anything I say may be given in evidence.” To upSD: When administering the caution during the interview, if you are speaking English to an English speaking person and they don’t understand English then change the friggin’ caution!!!!!
The interview lasted 4 hours in total, that is the actual tape time. We started at 9am and finished at just passed 3pm. Of the 4 hours of tape, the estimate is that an hour of it was re-cap. That is where the uPSD go back over the accused officer’s comments in order that they understand what the accused officer is trying to say. What a load of bollocks! I have never understood the re-cap. I suspected it is a comfort blanket for the interviewer whilst he thinks about whether he has covered all the aspects of the matter under investigation. Or it could have been a way of putting a bit more pressure on the officer by keeping him in the interview room. I have never experienced the length of re-cap in the real world that is produced by a uPSD re-cap.
What is the point? Does a denial in the main interview have to be re-denied in a re-cap? Similarly, does an admission to something in the main interview have to be re-admitted in the re-cap before it becomes an admission? Why not just invent a re-cap and be done with the other three hours of interview and we can all go home early?