What should I do if I am being investigated by the police?
If you are under investigation by the police, it does not mean you will necessarily be charged or found guilty of a criminal offence, but you do need to take the matter seriously and take steps to protect yourself.
At this point in the process, there is a significant information imbalance between you and the police because you may not know the full scope of the investigation. Indeed, our lawyers frequently receive calls from people who have been asked by police to come in for an “interview” but who have not been told why they are being investigated. Occasionally the police even ask people who they suspect of committing a crime, or of being connected to a crime, to do a “polygraph test.” The results of these tests are notoriously unreliable, however, and they are not admissible as evidence in court, so if the police ask you to do one, they are simply trying to trick you into incriminating yourself.
The key at this stage is to gather as much information as possible while saying as little as possible. You may want to consider obtaining the investigator’s name, badge number, and contact information. If you are comfortable, ask what the investigation is about (but be careful not to comment on the allegations). This step can be tricky because the police have been trained in methods of extracting information from people, so you might say something, even if only casually or inadvertently, that may be used against you in future proceedings.
The safest course of action is to write down the name, badge number, and contact information of the investigator and advise them that you will call them back within a reasonable time. You can then assess whether or not you will agree to go in for an interview or participate in the investigation. Before deciding what to do next, we strongly recommend that you contact a lawyer for assistance.
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