By a commentator for Tjen Folket Media.
Originally published July 3, 2020.
One can never tire of reminding people that they have the right to refuse to explain themselves to the police. One need not say anything during questioning, regardless of how much “good cop” or “bad cop” they perform. The police will lie as much as they can in order to get people to talk, but there is no reason to believe that they are looking out for what is best for you. They want you to say something stupid, something that they can use against you or against others.
Many cases have been shelved because nobody talks. It is a good idea not to talk. It is a bad idea to talk. If you are called in for questioning, you can first tell the police that you do not wish to talk, and that you have nothing to say. Usually, you will not need to meet at all. If they force you to meet them, which they are not technically allowed to do, you can simply say “no comment” or just say nothing at all.
This is an important right that many people do not understand that they have. The police will often try to say that “it will only be worse for you if you don’t say anything”, but this is just nonsense. It is almost always worse when you talk to them, rather than not saying anything.
Even in “concern conversations”, one has the right to refuse to explain oneself. Youth between 15 and 18 can be obligated to meet to concern conversations, but they CANNOT be forced to say anything. The law says the following:
“If the police have reason to believe that a person under the age of 15 has committed a punishable offense, or if a person under the age of 18 has committed a punishable offense, the minor and their parents may be obligated to attend a meeting with the police to have a conversation to prevent further offenses. Before the conversation begins, the minor and their parents must be made aware that they are not obligated to explain themselves.” [Unofficial translation]
There are also voluntary concern calls that the police can invite people to:
It says that many say yes to these concern calls because they are curious. It is often the case that people talk because they think it is a bit exciting or because they think they can fool the police. But this is their career. They know many tricks and will often use them.
Therefore, the absolute best advice is to always say no when it comes to saying anything at all to the police. In the US, one says “you have the right to remain silent”, and this is the case in Norway as well. It is a right that is there for you, and it is there to protect you. It irritates the police quite a bit, but don’t worry about whether or not they get angry or upset. Just refuse to say anything anyway.
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