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Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2003

Section 31: Police powers for designated contracted-out staff

80.This section enables the Chief Constable, where a contract has been entered into with the private sector for the provision of services relating to the detention or escort of persons who have been arrested or are otherwise in custody, to designate an employee of the contractor as either a detention officer or an escort officer. Subsection (3) 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 designated and that he has been adequately trained. The Chief Constable must also satisfy himself that the contractor is a fit and proper person to supervise the carrying out of the functions of the designated officer. Subsections (6) and (7) limit the powers that can be conferred on such contracted-out staff to any or all of those specified in the relevant parts of Schedule 2. Subsection (8) clarifies that a designation does not authorise or require conduct other than as an employee of the contractor and that a designation may contain restrictions and conditions.

81.Subsections (9) and (10) 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. Subsections (11) and (12) set out the duration of the designation. Unless the designation is previously withdrawn, its duration is until such time as is specified in the designation, or until the designated person ceases to be an employee of the contractor, or until the contract between the Board and the contractor expires or is terminated. Designations may be subject to renewal at any time.

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