Thursday, August 28, 2008

Don't talk to the police

The Times today reports that the Home Office is putting forward a new set of proposals aimed at locking more of us up. Presumably in "titan" jails. The meat of the proposal, according to the Times, is as follows:
  • Ban on post-charge questioning to end
  • Children to be interviewed without parents being present
  • Courts to be able to draw an inference of guilt if a suspect refuses to take part in an identity parade or answer post-charge questions
  • Shopping centre “jails” to hold suspects accused of low-level crime for up to 4 hours while they are processed by police
  • Non-police workers such as park wardens to be allowed to detain registered sex offenders
  • Police to be allowed to question suspects for longer before bringing charges
All this opens up the unsavoury prospect of the police being able to question people repeatedly for months on end whilst they are awaiting trial, children being bullied by adults in uniform, and park wardens beating up suspected nonces ("it was reasonable force, guv").

What is of most concern is that courts will be able to draw an inference of guilt if a suspect refuses to answer post-charge questions. This completely reverses the burden of proof, implying that you are guilty if you refuse to answer questions designed to entrap you.

The video below, despite being American, explains exactly why you should never speak to the police, even if you are as innocent as the day is long: