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Police Reform Act 2002

Commentary on Sections

Part 2: Investigating Officers

208.This Part includes a range of powers which would be needed to support the work of civilian investigating officers in specialist areas such as financial and Information Technology crime. They are mainly linked to entry, search and seizure. For example, powers to obtain and exercise search warrants, to seize evidence and to apply to a judge for access to confidential material. It also covers powers to enter and search premises following arrest. This set of powers is particularly relevant to the work of Scenes of Crime Officers, many of whom are already civilians. Investigating officers could also have a role in other aspects of the investigating process such as interviewing. This is recognised through other powers available in this Part: the power to arrest for further offences which may come to light during interview and the power to warn interviewees about the consequences of any failure to account for their presence at a particular place.

209.Paragraph 16 enables a suitably designated person to apply for and be granted search warrants under PACE, to execute warrants and to seize and retain things for which a search has been authorised. It extends that power of seizure to computerised information. It provides that the standard safeguards covering the process of applying for a search warrant, the contents of the warrant and the way in which the warrant should be exercised are extended to warrants dealt with by designated persons. It imposes the same obligations on designated persons in relation to providing records of seizure, providing access to or copies of seized material and retaining seized material as apply to constables. It gives the same protection from seizure to legally privileged material in relation to seizures by designated persons as applies to seizures by constables.

210.Paragraph 17 enables a suitably designated person to obtain access to confidential material under section 9 of PACE by making an application to a circuit judge under Schedule 1 to that statute. It extends standard PACE protections and obligations to material seized by or produced to a designated person under these provisions.

211.Paragraph 18 enables a suitably designated person to use the powers under section 18 of PACE to enter and search any premises occupied or controlled by a person who is under arrest for an arrestable offence and to seize and retain items found on such a search. The designated person may conduct such a search before the arrested person is taken to a police station and without obtaining the authority of an inspector if the presence of the arrested person is necessary for the effective investigation of the offence. Standard PACE protections and obligations are extended to material seized by a designated person under these provisions.

212.Paragraph 19 enables a suitably designated person, when lawfully on any premises, to exercise the same general powers to seize things as are available to a constable under section 19 of PACE. The designated person may also make use of the power to require, in certain circumstances, the production of electronically stored material in a form in which it can be taken away. Once again, standard PACE protections and obligations are applied.

213.Paragraph 20 enables a suitably designated person, instead of a constable, to act as the supervisor of any access to seized material to which a person is entitled, to supervise the taking of a photograph of seized material, or to photograph it himself.

214.Paragraph 21 enables a suitably designated person to arrest a detained person for a further offence if it appears to him that the detained person would be liable to arrest for that further offence if released from his initial arrest. It also provides that the consequences of failure to account for objects or marks etc. will apply to such arrests.

215.Paragraph 22 provides a power for the custody officer to transfer to a designated civilian investigating officer responsibility for a detained person. Section 39 of PACE places on custody officers the duty to ensure that all persons in police detention are treated in accordance with the Act and relevant codes of practice. Section 39(2) allows for this duty to cease if the custody officer transfers a person to the custody of a police officer investigating an offence or the custody of an officer who has charge of that person outside the police station. This paragraph modifies section 39(2) so that when a designated investigating officer is given custody of a detained person in the police station, the custody officer’s responsibilities can similarly be transferred. Section 39(3) – the duty for the person investigating the offence, once the detained person is returned to the custody of the custody officer, to report back to the custody officer how the codes were complied with – is also applied to the investigating officer by this paragraph. A designated investigating officer using powers under this paragraph is regarded as having the detainee in his lawful custody, with a duty to prevent his escape and entitlement to use reasonable force.

216.Paragraph 23 enables a suitably designated person to question an arrested person under sections 36 and 37 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 about facts which may be attributable to the person’s participation in an offence. For example, that person’s presence at a particular place at a relevant time or the presence of potentially incriminating objects, substances or marks. The designated person may also give the suspect the necessary warning about the capacity of a court to draw inferences from a failure to give a satisfactory account in response to questioning.

217.Paragraph 24 enables a suitably designated person to use powers available to constables under Part 2 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 where those powers supplement powers conferred on designated persons under other paragraphs of Part 2 of the Schedule. In essence this means that where a designated person has been provided with a specific power of seizure and exercising it on premises is compromised by the sheer bulk or complexity of the material to be searched through, that material can be moved elsewhere for sifting, subject to a range of detailed safeguards.

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