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Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2003

Section 30: Police powers for designated police support staff

77.This section enables the Chief Constable to designate suitably skilled and trained civilians as one or more of the following categories of officer: investigating officer; detention officer; and escort officer. The section enables the Chief Constable to confer on such civilians some of the powers and duties otherwise only available to police officers.

78.Subsection (1) enables the Chief Constable to designate a person who is a member of the police support staff as an officer of one or more of the following descriptions: investigating officer; detention officer; and escort officer. Subsection (2) prevents a designation being made unless the Chief Constable is satisfied that the person is a suitable person for this purpose, is capable of carrying out the functions for the purpose of which he is to be designated, and has been adequately trained. Subsection (5) limits the powers that can be conferred on designated persons to any or all of those specified in the relevant parts of Schedule 1. Subsection (7) clarifies that a designation does not authorise or require conduct other than as a member of the police support staff and that a designation may contain restrictions and conditions.

79.Subsections (8) and (9) provide that where a power allows for the use of reasonable force when it is exercised by a constable, a person exercising that power under a designation has the same entitlement to use reasonable force; for example when carrying out a search. Subsection (10) provides that where a designation includes the power to force entry to premises, the exercise of this power will be limited to occasions when the designated person is under the direct supervision of a police officer and is accompanied by such an officer: the only exception to this requirement is when the purpose of forcing entry is to save life or limb or to prevent serious damage to property.

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