Is there a power of arrest for a suspect released under investigation who fails to attend for voluntary interview?

13 May 2020

Not reviewed after the date of publication

Question:

A suspect has been released under investigation prior to an interview due to a medical episode. The individual has persistently avoided attending the station for a voluntary interview.

Without new evidence is there anything set in law to allow arrest under a power?

Answer: 

In the event that the suspect is released under investigation, they should be informed that any further interviews may be carried out on a voluntary basis. If they fail to return on request for a voluntary interview, or commit further offences whilst released under investigation, they risk being arrested again - please see the NPCC news item which contains a link to their updated guidance:

However, as with any arrest, in order for the arrest to be lawful, it must be in accordance with PACE code of Practice G, being deemed both 'necessary' and 'proportionate' in the circumstances of each investigation.

If the person fails to attend for voluntary interview, that is not necessarily a reason to arrest, especially as they have already been arrested for the offence and released. Ultimately it would be the responsibility of the arresting officer to justify any further arrest. However, please note PACE, Code of Practice G, paragraph 2.9(e)(i):

'2.9 When it is practicable to tell a person why their arrest is necessary (as required by paragraphs 2.2, 3.3 and Note 3), the constable should outline the facts, information and other circumstances which provide the grounds for believing that their arrest is necessary and which the officer considers satisfy one or more of the statutory criteria in sub-paragraphs (a) to (f), namely:...

(e) to allow the prompt and effective investigation of the offence or of the conduct of the person in question. see Note 2E

This may arise when it is thought likely that unless the person is arrested and then either taken in custody to the police station or granted 'street bail' to attend the station later, see Note 2J, further action considered necessary to properly investigate their involvement in the offence would be frustrated, unreasonably delayed or otherwise hindered and therefore be impracticable. Examples of such actions include:

(i) interviewing the suspect on occasions when the person's voluntary attendance is not considered to be a practicable alternative to arrest, because for example:

it is thought unlikely that the person would attend the police station voluntarily to be interviewed.'

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