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Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001

Section 73: Use of video and telephone links for decisions about detention

220.This section inserts a new section 40A into PACE which allows for an officer of at least the rank of inspector to conduct a review of detention before charge, by telephone. Subsection (1) of section 40A prescribes the situations in which a telephone review is to be used: where it is not reasonably practicable for the review officer to be present at the police station where the person is held and where the review is not one which is authorised by regulations in section 45A to be carried out using video conferencing facilities, or where in the circumstances it is not reasonably practicable to use such facilities. The effect of this is that telephone reviews will be used in very limited circumstances.

221.Subsection (3) of section 40A alters some of the obligations of the review officer where he is not in the same police station as the detainee. PACE contains several references to functions which imply that the review officer and detainee should be in the same police station. For example, section 37(4) and (5), (duty to make a written record and written record to be made in the presence of person arrested) and sections 40 (12) to (14) (opportunity to make representations orally or in writing). Where the review officer is not in the same police station as the detainee, the obligation is to cause another officer to make a written record in the presence of the detainee.

222.Subsection (4) of section 40A authorises the means by which representations are to be made to the review officer. Subsection (4) (a) allows for the use of email or fax where those facilities exist and (4)(b) for use of the telephone.

223.Subsection (3) of section 73 inserts a new section 45A after section 45 of PACE to enable the Secretary of State to make regulations to allow a police officer to perform certain functions where he is not present in the same police station as the arrested person but where he has access to the use of video conferencing facilities to communicate with persons in that station.

224.Section 30(2) of PACE sets out the normal rule that those arrested should be taken to a designated police station, that is one which is designated for the detention of arrested persons. Section 30(3) to (6) sets out the circumstances in which an arrested person may be taken to a non-designated police station for a maximum of six hours. For example, where it appears to a constable that he will be unable to take an arrested person to a designated police station without the arrested person injuring himself, the constable or some other person. Section 36(7) sets out how the functions of the custody officer should be carried out at a non-designated police station. The Act provides that as an alternative to an officer at the non-designated police station having all the powers and duties of a custody officer, a custody officer at a designated police station should be able to carry out some of those functions by means of video conferencing facilities.

225.Subsections (2)(a) and (b) of new section 45A set out the functions as those of a custody officer under sections 37, 38 and 40 of PACE in relation to an arrested person who is taken to a non-designated police station; and the function of carrying out a pre charge review of detention under Section 40(1) (b) of PACE by an officer of at least the rank of inspector. Subsections (3) and (8) are regulation making powers enabling the regulations to specify how the facilities should be used and in which police stations. Subsection (4) provides that the regulations shall only authorise a custody officer at a designated police station to perform any of the functions in subsection (2) (a). Subsections (5) to (7) of section 45A make provision similar to subsections (3) and (4) of section 40A except that the oral representations may be made by video conferencing facilities.

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