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The three am wake up calls; hard wooden benches; and vomiting clients. SMQ’s paralegal, Heulwen Everton tells all about training as a Police Station Representative.


“My training began in a classroom, where studying the provisions of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) and revisiting criminal law statutes was a fond reminder of university days.


But this was not university, my training was not to be completed in this comfortable classroom; the real learning began at the police station itself.


There is no doubt that police stations can be intimidating places. I cannot deny that entering the Custody Suite at the Police Station for the first time was a nerve racking experience. 


Sitting in an interview room with a client vomiting in a bin at your feet is a sure fire way to clear any nerves. Trying to ensure that your client’s interview is carried out properly, and that he has the opportunity to explain his actions fully; whilst holding a deep concern that your shoes may soon be ruined, is a rather stressful, yet comical, experience.


Do not believe what you see on TV. Granted, this is possibly the least glamorous aspect of being a criminal defence solicitor, but it is also one of the most interesting, and important parts. TV shows depicting solicitors at the police station as mere standers by or aggressive, egotistical characters with a vendetta against the police, do not do us justice. This was a lesson that I did not learn until sitting in that chair myself. Police station attendance can be hard work, and not just when your shoes are at risk!


My experience at police stations so far has been varied (not all of my clients have been throwing up in bins). But, one thing that all of my police station clients have had in common is that, for various reasons, they are vulnerable in some way. If I was nervous entering the custody suite as a legal representative, imagine how nerve racking it must be for those accused. Even with the friendliest of officers, police stations can feel cold, alienating, and intimidating. Yet the information gathered from suspects at the station will be central to any case made against them. Decisions made at the investigative stage of a case can hugely affect future outcomes, and these decisions are to be made whilst suspects’ minds are at their least clear. This is why having able and proficient legal representation by your side at the station to advise on the decisions to be made before; during, and after being in police detention is so crucial.


If you find yourself at the police station, please do call our 24-hour emergency number on 07585610063, and we will attend day or night, even at 3am!

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