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Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2003

Part 2: Detention officers

93.This Part covers powers that may be exercised by detention officers at police stations. Many of the powers are connected with the handling of persons in custody – an area of work in which police support staff are increasingly involved – such as powers to search detained persons, to take fingerprints and certain samples without consent and to take photographs. Providing designated police support staff and contracted-out staff with these and other powers will broaden the scope of the work they can undertake and ensure their work is underpinned by the law.

94.Paragraph 11 enables a suitably designated detention officer to require persons who have been convicted of a recordable offence, have not been in police detention for the offence and have not had their fingerprints taken in connection with the offence or since the conviction, to attend a police station to have their fingerprints taken. Recordable offences are set out in regulations made under Article 29(4) of the 1989 Order.

95.Paragraph 12 enables a designated detention officer to carry out non-intimate searches of persons detained at police stations or elsewhere and to seize items found during such searches. Restrictions on the scope of searching and seizure and on the circumstances in which searches can be carried out are applied to designated persons in the same way as to constables.

96.Paragraph 13 enables a designated detention officer to carry out searches and examinations in order to determine the identity of persons detained at police stations. A designated detention officer may photograph any identifying marks found during such processes.

97.Paragraph 14 enables a designated detention officer to take fingerprints without consent in the same circumstances that a constable may under the 1989 Order. He can also discharge the duty under the 1989 Order to inform the person concerned that his fingerprints may be the subject of a speculative search against existing records. Paragraph 15 gives a designated detention officer limited powers to take fingerprints from a person detained under terrorism provisions.

98.Paragraph 16 enables a designated detention officer to discharge the duty to inform a person from whom an intimate sample is to be taken that the sample may be the subject of a speculative search against existing records.

99.Paragraph 17 enables a designated detention officer to take non-intimate samples without consent and to inform the person from whom the sample is to be taken of any necessary authorisation by a senior officer and of the grounds for that authorisation. The designated person may also inform the person concerned that a non-intimate sample may be the subject of a speculative search against existing records. Paragraph 18 enables the designated officer to take a non-intimate sample from a person detained under terrorism provisions.

100.Paragraph 19 enables a designated detention officer to require certain defined categories of persons who have been charged with or convicted of recordable offences to attend a police station to have a sample taken.

101.Paragraph 20 enables a designated detention officer to photograph detained persons in the same way that constables may under the 1989 Order and paragraph 21enables the designated detention officer to photograph a person detained under terrorism provisions.

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