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Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001

Detention and arrest

195.The Act adds new sections 40A and 45A to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) to allow for the use, in certain circumstances, of telephone reviews of detention, video reviews of detention and video links for other custody decisions where the review officer is at different station from the person detained. Section 40 of PACE provides for reviews of the detention of persons detained in police custody in connection with the investigation of an offence. The first review must take place no later than six hours after the detention was first authorised. The second review must take place no later than nine hours after the first and subsequent reviews must be at intervals of no longer than nine hours. In relation to those who have been arrested and charged, the responsibility for carrying out the reviews lies with the custody officer (section 40 (1) (a)).

196.Section 36 (3) of PACE provides that no officer may be appointed a custody officer unless he is of at least the rank of sergeant. Subsection 4 provides that an officer of any rank may perform the functions of a custody officer at a designated police station if a custody officer is not readily available to perform them.

197.In relation to those who have been arrested but not yet charged, the responsibility to undertake the review lies with an officer of at least inspector rank not directly involved in the investigation (section 40 (1)(b)).

198.An attempt was made to introduce reviews of detention by video link in the area of Kent Constabulary within the existing law. However, in a judicial review in November 1999 (R v Chief Constable of Kent ex parte Kent Police Federation Joint Branch Board and Another [2000] 2 Cr.App.R. 196) the Lord Chief Justice held that section 40 of PACE did not permit review by video link and that the practice of section 40 telephone reviews approved by note C:15C of the Codes of Practice to PACE was of dubious legality. The Lord Chief Justice held that it was implicit in Section 40 and explicit in section 37(5) read in accordance with section 40(8) that the detainee should be in the physical presence of the review officer.

199.The Act allows for pre-charge reviews under Section 40 (1)(b) to be carried out both by video link, where the review officer is at a different police station to the detained person, and by telephone, but only where it is impracticable to carry out the review in person or by video link within the required time-scale. It is not envisaged that the duties of the review officer should be performed by video link as a matter of course. It is envisaged that a review by telephone might be used, for example, where a review officer is unable to travel to the police station to carry out a review because the road is flooded. The Act also provides a regulation-making power to allow custody officers to make certain decisions about charging, detention and bail using video conferencing facilities where the custody officer is at a different police station to the detainee.

200.The Government proposes to pilot the use of video conferencing facilities for Section 40 reviews of detention and other custody decisions. The Act provides for regulations to be drawn up specifying which police stations are to be piloted and, if so required, which functions should be piloted. The option of remote decision making for detainees in non-designated stations will only be available where the necessary technology and administrative arrangements are in place. Even in areas within the pilot scheme, the option will remain for an officer at the non-designated station to carry out the custody officer functions as in existing law. In practice, the decision as to who should carry out the functions is likely to be taken in consultation with the custody officer at the nearest designated police station

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