Fraud and corruption
Pages in Fraud and corruption
- 1. Fraud and corruption
- 2. Transparency
- 3. Anti-Money Laundering Policy
- 4. Counter Fraud, Corruption and Bribery Statement
- 5. Whistle Blowing Policy
- 6. You are here: Interviews under Caution
- 7. Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) corporate policy and procedures
- 8. Civil Fine for Single Persons Discount
6. Interviews under Caution
Why have I been asked to come for an Interview under Caution?
You have been asked to attend an Interview under Caution because we have reason to believe a criminal offence may have been committed. The reasons why we think you may have committed an offence will have been made clear to you in the invitation letter which you will have recieved via post or e-mail.
This does not mean that we believe that you are guilty and will prosecute you, but it does mean that the evidence we have collected so far suggests that you may have committed an offence.
The interview is held to give you the chance to explain the events that have occurred, although should evidence emerge during the interview that you have committed an offence, you may be prosecuted.
You do not have to come to the interview. However, if you fail to attend the interview, this may not prevent us from taking further action against you.
The Council will review your case and based upon the information which it holds, the case will be referred for consideration for further action, which may include prosecution.
Please note that we do not have childcare facilities, and we will not interview you if you have a child under 16 with you at the time of the interview.
You can have a solicitor or legal representative with you. This must be arranged by either yourself or with help from Citizens Advice Bureau before the interview. If you choose not to have a solicitor present but decide during the interview that you want to seek legal advice, the interview can be suspended to allow you to arrange this.
What should I bring with me?
Please bring proof with you to the interview of any serious health issues or medication which you are taking. If you have a medical condition that may affect your ability to be interviewed, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss this.
You will need to look at various documents during the interview so you should make sure that you bring any glasses or contact lenses that you normally use when reading.
Please bring a form of photographic identification with you, such as a passport or drivers’ licence.
Where will the interview be held?
Interviews under Caution are normally conducted at the Town Hall in Reigate however the invitation letter that came with this leaflet will detail exactly where the interview is to be held. On occasion interviews may be conducted at the Police Station. If you are not sure, please contact us to confirm.
Interviews may also be conducted via video call if this is appropriate for your circumstances.
The Town Hall has been built to assist wheelchair users and those with disabilities. Please contact us for further information.
There are limited parking facilities at the Town Hall, which includes disabled parking bays. There is a pay & display carpark on Bancroft Road.
Who will interview me?
You will usually be interviewed by two officers, who are specially trained to carry out Interviews under Caution, in line with the legislative requirements.
We sometimes conduct joint investigations with other agencies such as the Police, and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), among others.
If there has been a joint investigation in your case, you may be interviewed by an officer from the Council and an officer from another agency. If this is the case, this will be explained to you.
What happens during the interview?
The interview is recorded using either tapes or CDs and is conducted in line with the Police & Criminal Evidence Act 1984 - GOV.UK. Two blank versions of the recording media will be unsealed from their packaging in front of you and will be put into the recorder.
Before the officers ask you any questions, they will explain a number of things to you, including the purpose for the interview, who is in the interview room, your rights, and the interview process. You will also be cautioned as follows:
You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defense if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in Court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.
The officers will then ask you some questions. You do not have to answer the questions, but this may harm your defense if the case goes to court. The officers don’t have to accept your first answer; it is their job to try and establish the truth about what has happened.
The interviews do not normally take longer than 2 hours; however, this depends on the individual case and circumstances.
What happens after the interview?
If you provide new information during the interview, this will be followed up and the necessary information will be collected. You may be asked to attend another interview to discuss this new information. If so, you will remain under Caution until this interview.
If we do not need to interview you further, the case will be independently reviewed, and a decision will be made on the next course of action is to be taken. You will be written to as soon as possible outlining what will happen next.
If we believe there is no evidence that you have committed an offence, we will write to you and inform you that we will not be taking criminal proceedings against you.
If there is evidence that an offence has been committed, and we believe that there is enough evidence to prosecute you, the case will be independently reviewed against the Council’s Prosecution Policy before deciding on the next course of action.
Please note that no matter what action the Council decides to take, any overpayment of Benefits is treated as a separate matter and will be recovered in full, where applicable. Arrangements will be made with you to recover the overpayment.
There are various options available to the Council if the decision is made that an offence has been committed, and there is enough evidence to instigate criminal proceedings. These options are as follows:
If there is evidence that an offence has been committed, however we do not feel it is in the public or Council’s interest to take any further action, the decision may be made to issue you with a warning letter. We will then write to tell you that we will not be instigating proceedings against you. This letter will be kept on file, and can be referred to in any subsequent investigations. Any overpayment will be recovered in full, where applicable.
Formal Caution and or Conditional Caution
If there is evidence that an offence has been committed, however we feel there are special or mitigating circumstances, the decision may be made to offer you a formal caution. You may be offered a Conditional Caution too which is like a formal Caution; however, conditions will be set in addition to the Caution. This is where a senior officer will interview you and inform you that you have committed an offence and that this conduct is not acceptable.
You will be asked to sign two or three Caution Certificates (depending on the nature of your case), which will be countersigned by the interviewing officer. One of these certificates is kept on file by the Council, one is forwarded onto the Department for Work & Pensions (if the offence include benefits administered by the DWP), and one is given to you for your records.
To receive a Caution, you must agree to receive it and have admitted to the offence when Interviewed under Caution. The Caution may be referred to in any subsequent investigations.
The Caution maybe cited with the Police and may result in a conviction or criminal record.
If there is evidence that an offence has been committed, however we feel there are special or mitigating circumstances, the decision may be made to offer you an Administrative Penalty. This is where a Senior Officer will interview you and inform you that you that you have committed an offence and that this conduct is not acceptable.
The Administrative Penalty for Housing Benefit overpayments is equal to 50% of the amount overpayment caused by the fraudulent activity. This means that you will have to repay the overpayment amount plus the extra 50%. This percentage is fixed by law and cannot be changed.
The Administrative Penalty for Council Tax Reduction scheme is 50% of the amount of the excess reduction of Council Tax Support which has been overpaid to you subject to: a minimum amount of £100; and. a maximum amount of £1,000.
You will be asked to sign three formal agreements; one is kept on file by the Council, one is forwarded onto the Department for Work & Pensions, and one is given to you for your records.
You have 28 days after signing the penalty agreement to change your mind. If you change your mind and do not want to accept the penalty, the case will be referred for criminal proceedings to be taken against you.
Please note that both Cautions and Administrative Penalties are offered as alternatives to prosecution. If you are offered one of these alternatives and you either refuse to accept it or withdraw your penalty acceptance, the case can be referred for criminal proceedings to be instigated against you without further warning.
Prosecution (Criminal Proceedings)
If there is evidence that an offence has been committed, and we believe that there is enough evidence for a prosecution and that the offence is one of a serious nature, the decision may be made to prosecute you in the Criminal Courts.
Cases are usually heard in the Magistrates’ Court; however more serious cases can be heard at the Crown Court. If you are found guilty the court can punish you in a number of ways.
If you are found not guilty (acquitted), we will not take any other criminal action against you as far as your case is concerned. However, we will still try to recover any overpayment where applicable.
What happens to the recording media?
The interview is recorded on two copies of the recording media (tapes or CDs):
- the master copy – this is the copy that is sealed at the end of the interview
- the working copy – this is the copy that is left unsealed at the end of the interview, and is used by our investigators
At the end of the interview, you will be asked to sign a label. This label is also signed by the interviewing officers and is used to seal the master copy. The master copy is kept in secure storage, and will only be unsealed if a court official demands to hear it or if we need to copy it. If we need to copy the master, you will be invited to watch whilst the tape is unsealed, copied, and sealed up again.
The working copy is passed audio typists who will type up everything said during the interview. The working copy and transcript of the interview are kept in secure storage.
If the decision is made to take the case to court, the sealed master copy will be used as evidence if required.
Obtaining a copy of the interview recordings or transcripts
If you or your solicitor wishes to obtain a copy of the recording media and or transcripts, an application should be made in writing to: Fraud & Financial Investigations, Reigate & Banstead Borough Council, Town Hall, Castlefield Road, Reigate, Surrey, RH2 0SH. Please address your request to the Investigations Officer who conducted your interview. Requests may be sent via e-mail or letter.
Should you require any further information, please contact Senior Fraud Investigator Jim Martin via:
- Phone: 01737 276 490
- Email: James.Martin@reigate-banstead.gov.uk
Fraud & Financial Investigations
Reigate and Banstead Borough Council
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