Police Detention

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Police Detention

  • Detention follows arrest
  • PACE Code C  allows suspects to be detained without charge for up to 4 days
    • Summary offence=24 hrs
    • Indictable=36 hrs and request to Magistrates forextenstion for 96 hrs
  • Custody Officer is the most important person reguarding detention
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  • Suspect must be broguht to police station asap
  • Alternatively police can grant bail to atten police station at a later date (conditions)-Street Bail
  • On arrival at station custody officer decides is sufficient evidence to charge
  • If charged must be released on bail unless reasons against- general presumption is should be granted bail
  • Person charged must be broought before magistrates asap no matter what the offence
  • Police have a habit of 'taking the scenic route' and ask question
    • unlawful
  • Custody Officer must open the suspect's custody record log as soon as the suspect arrives at the station
    • include time of arrival, reason for arrest, each review and any visits made to the cell
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Detention without Charge

  • Detained to secure or obtain evidence often through questioning S37 PACE
  • Detention should be reviewed after first 6 hrs and then ar intervals of no less than 9 hours s40
  • Basic rule-right to detain depends on whether crime is indictable
    • 24 hrs from time of arrival for summary offences then charge or releas S41
  • If at any time the custody officer decides there's no reason to detain the suspect for longer, they must be released
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  • Police can authorise detention for further 12 hours if necessary to secure or preserve evidence and the offence is indictable
  • Suspect can be detained for further periods up to 96 hours with permission from a magistrates' coourt
  • Only 5% detained for more than 18 hours and 1% for more than 36 hours
  • The suspect has the right to be represented and oppose the application for a detention extention at the Magistrates Courts
  • Under the Terrorism Act 2006 a suspect can be detained for up to 14 days. The period has to be extended by a District Judge (Magistrates Court)
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Are the Safeguards effective?

  • Role of the custody officer-keeps record and checks compliance
  • In practice custody officers unable to distance themselves from needs of the investigation
  • Often of more junior rank than investigating officer
    • Some research suggests that custody officers tend to do what senior officer tells them to do; influenced by senior investigating officer
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Post-Charge Questioning

  • Once charged suspect should not be questioned further by the police however research shows that this is not the case
  • Only allowed to prevent ot minimse harm or loss, clarify ambiguity in statement or in interests of justice for suspect to be given opportunity to comment on new evidence
  • Inferences cannot be drawn-here still genuine right to silence
  • Aim to reduce risk of false confessions
  • But pilot studies where post-questioning being allowed
  • The earlier you plead guilty, the less sentence you get
    • 1st opportunity, 1/3 discount unless there is overwhelming evidence-20%
    • After trial date given-1/4 discount
    • Just before court 1/10 discount
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