Solicitor Contact Line - agent to Stranraer police station pilot


Friday, Feb 12, 2016

SLAB’s Solicitor Contact Line (SCL) in conjunction with Police Scotland are piloting the use of an agent to police station video link at Stranraer Police Station. 

The pilot commenced this week and will run for 12 months with a review planned after 6 months.

Purpose of pilot

The purpose of the pilot is to assess the uptake for consultations and representation by video link for suspects who have refused or declined the offer of a personal visit by an SCL solicitor.

Monitoring will be done to assess how the project impacts on:

  • access to justice 
  • the efficiency of the justice system in regard to delays and use of resources
  • the SCL carbon footprint.


When will the video link be used?

The SCL is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  When a suspect asks to speak to a solicitor either to obtain advice or representation, the police notify the SCL.

Providing advice to suspect

If the suspect asks for a named solicitor the SCL will contact the named solicitor so that they can assist the suspect.   The SCL currently provide telephone advice to suspects where they do not request a named solicitor.  During the pilot the SCL solicitor will be able to advise the suspect by way of video link.

To ensure compliance with the act the consultation room at Stranraer police station has been set up to ensure that the video consultation can be conducted out of hearing of the police.

Police Interview

Where the client has a named solicitor they will normally represent the suspect at the police interview.  If the client does not have a named solicitor and wishes representation at the interview the SCL solicitor will contact a duty solicitor on the police station duty plan.  The SCL solicitor will only attend the police station in person where the client does not have a named solicitor and where the duty solicitor on the police station duty plan is not available.

During the pilot a personal attendance will continue to be offered to all suspects.  If a personal attendance is refused or declined, the SCL solicitor can, in certain circumstances, offer to take part in the police interview by way of video link.  The offer to attend by video link will only be made where, having regard to the welfare of the suspect, the SCL solicitor considers it would be appropriate
 
Instances where the video link will not be used

Solicitors from SCL will not use the video link to provide representation in the following circumstances:

  • Where the suspect is a child under 16 or 17 and on supervision.
  • Where the case is in connection with a murder, attempted murder, rape, sexual offence or is a high value case.
  • Depending on the circumstance where the suspect requires an appropriate adult and/or an interpreter.
  • Where in the specific circumstances of the case either the SCL Solicitor or Police Scotland deem the use of the video link inappropriate


For more information, please contact: Christine Connerton, Digital Services Marketing Officer: connertonch@slab.org.uk






 


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