You might have been or know someone that has been invited by the Police before for an alleged offense. Undoubtedly, some of people fell into the police net. This article seeks to enlighten you on what to do when invited to Police station or any other security agencies. I will start with what a Police invite is before talking about what to do when invited by the police. Enjoy the piece!
Police Invite is simply an invite from the Police to an individual over a complaint against such a person or to shed more light on a particular matter reported. Ordinarily, this is the first step security officers are supposed to take whenever there is a complaint against another. Police invitation does not always warrant an arrest. At that instance, you are not under arrest or incarceration. But, there are majorly few reasons why the invite might turn to an arrest. These include but not limited to:
- Your statements indicted you.
- There is need for further investigation.
- If released, you might tamper with evidence.
- You might jeopardize further investigations.
Now that you’ve known what a Police invite is, let look what to do when invited by the police
What to do when Invited to Police Station
Think of what warrant the invite
The first thing to do when invited to police station is to think of what has warranted your police invite. It is advisable you sit and think of anything you might have done to warrant the invite. This will guide you when writing a statement. And it will assist your lawyer in advising you appropriately and having a pre-briefing with you before heading to the station in obedience of the summons.
Respond to the Police invitation
The next thing to do when invited to police station is to respond to the police invitation. It is your duty as a responsible citizen to respond to police invitations. When invited, you are advice to follow them. Do not argue. Honor the invite but I’ll suggest you contact your lawyer (A very good lawyer) to accompany you to the police station or wherever you are needed. It is important you know that the police officer or any other officer in any of the agencies that called to invite you, will most likely not tell you the nature of the complaint against you
Kindly note that nobody, no matter how highly placed should turn down police invite. The law is no respecter of persons. No matter how highly connected you are, do not try to circumvent or turn down the invite in your own interests. The procedure is: you are given a date, place and time to appear. If for any reason that day/date is not convenient for you, kindly promptly inform the agency so another date can be arranged for you. If you fail to honor the invite, you incur the wrath of having a Warrant of Arrest issued against you. The disadvantage of having a Warrant of Arrest issued against you is that you lose your right to be granted bail in most lenient terms at the police station. You are seen as a flight risk suspect who can abscond and jump bail.
Understand your statement before writing
Whether you’ll write statement as a witness or suspect, you just need to understand that your statement is most likely to be used against you. Therefore, take your statement writing as a serious matter. Remember that you have a right to refuse to write a statement until your lawyer is present. But this normally leads to argument from some police officers and some may threaten or use it as a pretext for not releasing you immediately.
There are no hard or fast rules as to the contents of a statement. It is supposed to be what you know in relation to an incident or the reason for you being brought to the station. Since the statement is not a general view on anything you like, it is important that you know the reason for which you have been brought to the station. For those who have been suspected of committing an offense, make sure that before you start writing your statement, you ask the IPO the offense for which you have been brought to the station. If he tells you there is no offense that they just want you to tell them what you know, it’s a set up.
Politely decline to make a statement but add that the Police would not have any justification to have brought you to their station if an offense has not been or about to be committed and you demand to know same and the person(s) suspected before you make your statement. At that stage, you will most likely be obliged your request. They know you know your rights. But, don’t go about it in an arrogant way. The only exception here is if you are arrested on the spot of a crime you committed. Also if you were arrested or invited as a result of a petition written against you, you must demand to read carefully that petition before you put pen to paper.
Write your statement with absolute clarity
When you start your statement, make sure you explain the reason for which you have been asked to make your statement with absolute clarity. The reason for writing your statement should be obvious. Your statement when read by a third party can only make sense in the context of the matter that prompted the statement. So if you didn’t state the matter to which your statement relates, the matter may be changed down the line. You may think that you were arrested because of stolen vehicle, but can later be changed to Kidnapping or other serious offenses based on a careless statement from you. If a Judge/Magistrate is reading your statement on a kidnapping case for instance, he might think you were evading the issues. He might think you were dodging the matter and didn’t want to answer the questions. And he may likely form a negative opinion of you based on your presumably inconclusive and evasive statements. So be careful and be wise.
Your right to write your statement yourself is also sacrosanct. Do not allow any police officer write a statement for your best interest. They can only do so if you cannot read and write. Whatever questions the I.P.O is asking you, make sure you are writing the response yourself. Also, do not allow any police officer to dictate what to write. At that point in time, he is NOT your friend. Be warned!
Also you CANNOT be arrested for the offense of another person nor arrested in lieu of another person but if f this scenario ever happens, demand access to your lawyer. He knows what to do. It is also your right not to be tortured to make any statement. It is unconstitutional for the police to detain and torture you to make a statement. At that stage, you are still a suspect and must be treated such. Consult your lawyer if you were threatened, tortured or induced into making any statement. Any statement you are not allowed to make voluntarily is regarded as “duress” and as such will not be allowed in the court of law to be used against the accused person.
Your RIGHTS include:
– Right to bail
– Right to remain silent or avoid answering any question in the absence of your lawyer or any person of your choice.
– Right not to be arrested with excessive force except you refuses arrest.
– Right to be taken to the Police Station and not road side or a corner to settle or be extorted.
– Right to be brought before a Court of Law. Every detention beyond 24hours MUST be authorized by a Court of Law. Anything beyond this, you can sue to enforce your fundamental human rights.
N.B – Note that you can only be arrested for an offense known to Law. The offense must be defined by a legislation prohibiting it and punishment thereof specified therein; and the offense must be so constituted at the time of the commission of the alleged offense.
Thank you for taking out time to join me on this time of incessant harassment and intimidation in our societies.
Kindly note that due to my work load and tight schedules, I have to stop here on the issues of your rights as time permits me.