to think the police shouldn't be able to lie in order to get a confession?

(122 Posts)
JenniferJo Wed 13-Aug-14 08:11:14

Friend's son A went to the cinema with friends on Saturday night. He was walking home alone when a police car pulled up and he was arrested.

A woman had been assaulted in the city centre and he fitted the description. He's a very "young" 18 and was frightened. He didn't think to ask for a solicitor or to ask to phone his parents. He was aggressively questioned and told they had him on CCTV committing the assault and it would go better for him if he just confessed. He at least had the sense to keep denying it.

Long story short he was released without charge but his parents are fuming. It transpires that there was no CCTV evidence the police deliberately lied to try to get him to confess.

They are going to make a complaint, obviously.

But it has set me wondering. What if he had done it? Is it OK for the police to lie to get a confession when there was actually no evidence to back up their claims?

cricketballs Wed 13-Aug-14 08:22:43

On what grounds are they going to complain? Hes an adult, he fitted the description of the perpetrator and he was released without charge?

In terms of "lying"; what else could the police do?

JenniferJo Wed 13-Aug-14 08:25:37

They are going to see a solicitor today to see if they have grounds for complaint.

I was just horrified to learn that the police think it's ok to lie. What the police should do is be honest and not invent evidence.

Glastogirl Wed 13-Aug-14 08:25:37

I think it's wrong... Seems really unfair!

Cariad007 Wed 13-Aug-14 08:29:37

"In terms of "lying"; what else could the police do?"

Um... not lie?

IcecreamWhatSandwich Wed 13-Aug-14 08:30:43

This is standard operating procedure for the police. Frankly many guilty people only get convicted because the police lie and/or frame them. Most of the time these people are guilty, but sometimes they are not and miscarriages of justice happen.

No I don't think it's right either but I doubt it is going to change any time soon. Educate your children that if they haven't been arrested, they should feel free to explain themselves to the police frankly and openly. But as soon as they have been arrested they should not say ANYTHING or answer any questions about the incident (other than to give their names, etc.) until they have a lawyer.

If in a foreign country, not until they have a lawyer who speaks their language or an interpreter, and have spoken to someone from a consulate.

Sorry if this makes the police's job harder. But you don't your child to become a campaign for justice.

cricketballs Wed 13-Aug-14 08:33:57

The not lying though; do you really think they could get an offender to admit their crime if the police say "we have no evidence, but can you confess?"

NutcrackerFairy Wed 13-Aug-14 08:43:12

The police probably did have evidence though... CCTV of someone who looked very much like this young man assaulting a woman.

So it's not much of a stretch for police to say "we saw 'you' on CCTV".

CCTV footage is pretty grainy at the best of times, I imagine it's not always the perfect evidence. So police then rely on identification of perpetrator by the victim, DNA, the perp confessing, etc...

Disclaimer - I am not a police officer and so above is purely speculation gleaned from watching CSI NY...

Must have been a very frightening experience for your friend's son though and I can understand why they feel upset and angry.

JenniferJo Wed 13-Aug-14 08:45:03

There was no CCTV of the incident. They lied. They had a physical description from witnesses, that was all.

BookFairy Wed 13-Aug-14 08:47:03

But Nutcracker there is no CCTV.

Being arrested for a crime I didn't commit is one of my weird secret fears. Too much tv.

Jennifer I hope your friend's son is ok. Did they provide a Duty Solicitor? Do they have to at that stage?

cricketballs Wed 13-Aug-14 08:47:38

How do you know there was no CCTV?

JenniferJo Wed 13-Aug-14 08:49:22

The police admitted it, eventually.

JenniferJo Wed 13-Aug-14 08:50:38

He can't remember being offered a solicitor, he was in a dreadful and anxious state. I'm sure they did but whether they made sure he understood is another thing altogether.

HKat Wed 13-Aug-14 08:54:32

It's a horrible experience for your friend's son, for sure. But I have to wonder whether people would be as unhappy with this tactic if the person being interviewed WAS guilty and confessed off the back of it? I'm on the fence myself - but can see what Cariad007 is saying...

OwlCapone Wed 13-Aug-14 08:56:49

TBH, if they get a confession then I don't care if the accused was lied to. They shouldn't have done the crime in the first place

In the case of your friend's son, he didn't confess, because he was innocent, and was released without charge. I'm not sure why your friends are seeing a solicitor so ask about making a complaint. If you want to make a complaint you just make one, you don't need to ask if you can. A solicitor is completely unnecessary unless they are looking for compensation.

PinkLights Wed 13-Aug-14 08:57:23

After the Jimmy Saville, Rochdale, Andrew Mitchell and Lawrence family press are you surprised that the Police are corrupt like this OP? I am not.

OwlCapone Wed 13-Aug-14 08:57:32

If they get a confession from a guilty party. Just to clarify!

HeySoulSister Wed 13-Aug-14 08:57:42

You are slagging off an entire police force based on second hand knowledge

IcecreamWhatSandwich Wed 13-Aug-14 09:03:29

They have to tell you that you have a right to a solicitor. But they can interview you without one if you agree.

They are not allowed to tell you that you should have one or shouldn't have one. They have been known to do things like tell people they can be interviewed and released immediately, or they can spend the night in the cells because the solicitor can't get there until tomorrow morning.

When I was arrested as a student for doing something silly, but not illegal, blush I said I didn't want a solicitor, because I had misunderstood the situation. The very kind desk sergeant slowly repeated "I am not allowed to tell you whether or not *you should ask for a solicitor*", emphasising the last six words and giving me a 'look'. I said I had changed my mind and did want a solicitor after all. grin

I was lucky - I think the desk sergeant realised the situation, and that the police who arrested me would have tried to at least caution me if they could, to add to the numbers of detected crimes. [grateful]

wheresthelight Wed 13-Aug-14 09:03:50

I didn't think they were allowed to outright lie although they are able to twist things in their favour. A confession based on lies is classed as entrapment and would have the cps throwing it out before it ever got near a court room.

If your friend's son was in the statedescribed then it could be he is remembering incorrectly or is embellishing to make it seem worse than it was.

The cops were ultimately doing their job if he fitted the description and he was an idiot to not ask for a solicitor as he would have been read his miracle rights at the point he was arrested. It is illegal for them not to do thisand again wwould see any case kicked out

wheresthelight Wed 13-Aug-14 09:05:08

Miranda not miracle sorry

Numanoid Wed 13-Aug-14 09:12:18

are you surprised that the Police are corrupt like this OP?

Um, I don't think they are corrupt. You can't say the entire force is corrupt based on a story from a poster who probably got it from the parent(s) of the person it actually happened to, who doesn't remember everything that happened...
Maybe these two officers were, who knows.
It sounds like a horrible experience for the boy involved, but he is 18, and an adult. At that age he should have known to ask for a solicitor.

NutellaLawson Wed 13-Aug-14 09:15:00

soulsister the OP wasn't slagging off an entire police force. She didn't ask whether police are dishonest, lazy, self-serving a dickheads. She, quite reasonably pondered whether the police, as a government institution, should keep to higher ethical standards.

Some may think this sort of lying is legitimate other that it is unethical. That is what is up for debate, but slagging off the police force.

I think a lot of nice white middle class people whose contact with the police is rare (of at all) and generally as a victim of crime is different to that of people who are typically not middle class white (yet still not a criminal). So black or young or male or poor. Or worst of all, all four.

The former see the police as honest, trustworthy, decent, mature. The latter see another side.

And I'm a white middle class woman who has never been arrested or questioned (though I did get pulled over twice and was treated poorly due to no reason at all other than I was young and driving a banger).

JenniferJo Wed 13-Aug-14 09:15:46

We don't have Miranda rights in the UK. We have something else quite similar, I think.

His parents don't want compensation they want to know why the police lied and if that's ok. And if they shouldn't have done so they want the ones that did disciplined. Quite reasonable, I'd say.

LadyLuck10 Wed 13-Aug-14 09:17:44

I think if a guilty person confessed to a crime using this tactic then I don't really care tbh.

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