Related Sector: Investigations

Significant changes to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) Codes C and E will come into force on the 31st July 2018. These will greatly impact how professional investigators operate.

Code C amendments

The way investigators interview suspected individuals as volunteers (i.e. not under arrest) under Code C has been amended. Significant safeguards and entitlements now have to be clearly explained. Evidence may need to be produced later to demonstrate that regardless of where the interview took place the procedure effectively mirrored that which would take place if the suspect was interviewed as an arrested person at a police station.

The duties of the investigator in these circumstances include setting out to the individual their rights, entitlements and safeguards prior to them consenting to the interview and then providing a written notice explaining this process.

Further changes to Code C take account of the work of the Home Office chaired Working Group on Vulnerable People. As such the definition of a "vulnerable person" has been widened and now includes a range of functional factors rather than reference solely to "mentally vulnerable". It is now stipulated that if any of these factors are suspected then proactive steps must be taken to ensure the provision of a suitable "Appropriate Adult". There is a duty placed on the investigator to record these processes in order to withstand later scrutiny.

Code E amendments

Code E now places a duty to use an "authorised recording device" on all PACE interviews where  there is such equipment available, and where an interview room or other location suitable for use of that device is available. This extends to summary only offences. The definition of "authorised recording device" is being interpreted as including body-worn video equipment.

It is vital that all investigators who are responsible for investigating criminal offences and/or prosecuting offenders embrace and follow the new codes, ensuring that their investigations retain complete credibility and that evidence obtained remains admissible.

Bond Solon offers a 2-day Advanced Investigative Interviewing training on either an in-house, or public basis in central London, which will ensure that delegates involved in investigations are operating fully in compliance with these important changes to the PACE Codes.  

Our next Advanced Investigative Interviewing public course will be running on the 3rd and 4th October. To book please visit our course webpage or call us on 020 7549 2549.

Bond Solon can also assist clients in the sourcing and provision of authorised recording equipment with direct access to our trusted providers.

This article was first published on the 27th July 2018


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