1st Draft February 2008 by 7c3z7qc3



Nacro’s Response to the Home Office consultation ‘PACE Review. Government
Proposals in response to the Review of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act

                                                                                 November 2008

Nacro welcomes the opportunity to comment on the Review of the Police and
Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) 1984. We recognise the changing operational needs
and that policing requires regular reviews of legislation and Codes of Practice. We
welcome the approach taken by this Review and the need to ensure that there is a
balance between the powers of the police and the rights of the individual, and that
these must remain proportionate. We also welcome the intention to align the Review
with the objectives in terms of the Government’s health and social care agenda.

Nacro is the principal crime reduction charity dedicated to making society safer. We
have an unrivalled expertise in developing effective solutions to crime and stimulating
fresh thinking on how best to reduce it. This is based on over 40 years of experience.
This response is completed, in the main, with reference to the needs of people with
mental health needs who come into contact with the criminal justice system and the
needs of young people.

Nacro’s Mental Health Unit has been working since 1990 on issues related to
offenders with mental health needs. The Unit has worked in over 30 areas in England
and Wales on a varied work programme including; consultancy and development
work; reviewing existing arrangements; assisting with the development of policies
and protocols; and, developing and delivery training programmes.

The Unit provides an information service, has developed a website relating to
offenders with mental health needs, produces a range of publications including
briefing papers and good practice guides1, and holds an Annual Mental Health and
Crime Conference. It has also responded to a number of consultations, including
highlighting the need to include offenders with mental health needs in any proposed

Consultation Response
Chapter 4: PACE – the Act

Nacro supports the principle of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act. The police are
provided with a clear framework in which to operate in, whilst the rights of detainees
are afforded protection.

 Nacro has produced a good practice guide entitled ‘The appropriate adult and vulnerable people:
Working with mentally disorder offenders and other vulnerable adults’. See

We would support the development of a single code on powers of entry for non-
police agencies provided:

    a) This was restricted to ‘powers of entry’ and did not extend to any other
       aspects of the investigation
    b) There are special provisions for any members of any groups that receive
       special treatment under PACE Codes
    c) Only accredited members of those agencies who as part of the accreditation
       would have to receive training of the same quality as that received by those
       subject to PACE Codes.

Nacro would consider supporting this as providing clarification to what has become
an area of investigative activity which can be confusing. However, full comment
cannot be made until detailed proposals are published.

Chapter 5: PACE Codes

We are supportive of the PACE Codes of Practice which we believe provide support
and assistance to vulnerable adults and young people detained at police stations.
Nacro is of the view that it is essential to retain the Codes in hard copy in custody
suites. Whilst it is welcomed that efforts to make the Codes more comprehensible to
the lay person, caution needs to be exercised so that any attempt to translate into
‘simple english’ does not result in changes to meaning or understanding.

Visual aids are particularly important for people with learning disabilities. The Care
Services Improvement Partnership has published helpful guidance for staff working
with offenders with learning disabilities2. We also welcome the guidance3 produced
by ACPO and the Home Office in 2006 which focuses on practical ways to deal with
persons in police custody and includes sections on risk management, suicide, self-
harm and healthcare. We think that this guidance has the potential for more
extensive usage in training for police officers.

Nacro would expect the content, interpretation and status of support materials to be
subject to consultation with stakeholders and interested parties in PACE. The status
of such material vis a vis the Codes themselves should be explicit, and their
existence should not detract from the unfettered ability for those who currently have
access to PACE Codes when a detainee is in custody.

Nacro welcomes an annual review of the Codes, but we note that this was aspired to
on implementation of s11 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003; the current process for
revision of the Codes of Practice.

Chapter 6: Stop, Stop and Search

The proposal to record ethnicity only on the spot is inadequate with regard to
juveniles and we would recommend that where the person is a child/juvenile
(including those aged 17) greater detail is required, including age.

Nacro is not opposed to the use of new technology to improve operational efficiency.
However, this should not be at the expense of either current safeguards or

  CSIP (2007) Positive Practice: a handbook for professionals in the criminal justice system working with
offenders with learning disabilities, CSIP: London
  ACPO, Home Office (2006) Guidance on the safer detention and handling of persons in police
custody, NCPE: London

accountability. We are not convinced about the issuing of a receipt following stop and
search rather than a written account and would wish to see further evidence both for
the necessary and accountability of this proposal.

Any mobile system needs to:
   a) Be versatile enough to provide a hard copy of any electronic audit trail for
      verification and validation purposes, should the need arise, which may be
      requested by the person stopped.
   b) Be governed by procedures which should form part of the Codes of Practice;
      which include special provisions for its use with members of groups deemed
      vulnerable under PACE.
   c) Not be used to gather identification material, which can be used in speculative
      searches, nor be retained indefinitely, if there are no other reasons for

Whilst we recognise that stop and search is a legitimate operation, we believe its
value in tackling crime to be limited in comparison to intelligence-led policing. We
have long been concerned about the disproportionality in the use of stop and search
in relation to people from black and minority ethnic (BME) communities. We welcome
the intention to use pilots to address this issue but believe that existing evidence on
how to resolve these issues is sufficient.

Chapter 7: Arrest

Nacro welcomes the reservation over granting a power of entry for ALL offences.
Nacro questions whether for groups vulnerable under PACE a power of entry for
summary only offences is actually necessary. These are by definition the least
serious of offences and it is difficult to envisage circumstances in which such a power
would be required. Indeed these are precisely the offences where the use of
‘reporting for summons’ as opposed to arrest may be used.

The proposal that gives the example of a ‘dangerous’ patient absent without leave
from a secure healthcare facility as a reason to enter premises without having to get
a warrant we think is unhelpful. The option to use s17 (1) (d) of PACE or to obtain an
arrest warrant under s135 of the Mental Health Act (MHA) should be adequate. We
think that the occasions that this occurs are small in number and would not want
PACE amended on the basis of these cases. In circumstances where a police officer
thinks harm is going to be caused to anyone he is still able to enter the premises.

Nacro believes the requirement for uniform should be maintained in cases that
involve individuals from groups that are deemed vulnerable under PACE codes. The
consultation document clearly accepts there may be circumstances when a constable
needs to be readily identifiable; in Nacro’s view this is one such circumstance.

Nacro would welcome clarification on the status of voluntary interviews at the police

Nacro’s view on expanding the current necessity criteria to deal with so called
‘ongoing offences’ is that having criteria that rely on extrapolation of what a person’s
behavior ‘is likely’ to be, is inherently problematic, and will result in different
judgements by different officers.

Chapter 8: Entry, Search and Seizure

The proposals to permit premises’ searches when a suspect has not been arrested is
not a concept we are happy with.

We would encourage attention to the increased use of foster care in cases of arrest
where bail breach is anticipated, bail related entry to premises and searches. The
difficult role of fostering is made stressful where police activities are carried out
without warning, often during the night. We would recommend that such situations
are treated in the same way as would apply to an agency office, a children’s home or
a school.

Chapter 9: Warrants – Entry & Search for Evidence

Nacro does not support proposals for searches to take place without arrest or
warrant. Although it may require the grounds for arrest to be present, Nacro
maintains in such cases the required scrutiny should not be left to the police, but
placed before a court.

Nacro accepts the safeguard of authorization of entry powers in relation to missing
persons enquiries by a superintendent not connected with the investigation.

Chapter 10: Detention

We believe that the current situation, where detentions of up to 36 hours need to be
authorised by a superintendent, to be a correct and necessary safeguard. We would
not wish to see this power extended down to a police inspector.

We have some concerns about the changes proposed to formal review of detention.
We would expect the review procedure post charge to be the same as pre charge. It
would be interesting to know how many cases actually require this review function.

We approve of the rejection of the potential to extend the period of detention by
stopping the clock when the delivery of the person’s rights interfere with, in particular,
interviewing. However, we are concerned at the downgrading of review
arrangements with regard to juveniles who may be as young as 10 and who may
have considerable needs and vulnerabilities. We would tend towards strengthening
arrangements by more clearly allowing/requiring contribution to the review process
by relevant professionals (Social workers, health professionals, appropriate adults)
and parents/guardians and relatives.

Whilst we recognise the argument behind the proposals for ‘short term holding
facilities’ in shopping centres we are concerned that, where arrangements have not
been agreed between NHS Trusts and the police, these may be used as a default
‘place of safety’ under s136 of the MHA. We think that PACE should explicitly state
that such ‘short term holding facilities’ should not be used as ‘places of safety’ under
s136. We would also wish to ensure that these facilities give detainees access to
professionals, parents/guardians and relatives as appropriate.

With regards to juveniles we would insist that they do not share short term holding
facilities with adult detainees.

Chapter 11: Bail

Nacro would wish to see an overview of all bail provision. They are inextricably
linked, with the pre-court status having a powerful effect on outcomes of the first
court appearance, and must form part of an integrated, coherent set of provisions.

The creation of a new offence of failure to answer street bail and failure to comply
with the conditions of police bail is of concern. The same rules should apply as for
court bail in that it should be possible to vary the conditions of bail if the person has
difficulty complying, particularly if this is related to mental health treatment eg.
ensuring the person keeps appointments with their community psychiatric nurse.
The suggestion that a suspect might be liable to arrest on a suspicion that he might
be about to breach bail conditions is also not something we would wish to see

It is proposed to provide the police with the power to enter premises where
reasonable suspicion exists and it is necessary for the enforcement of bail. Nacro
would draw attention to the use of local authority residential and foster placements
for children granted bail or remanded to local authority accommodation and hostels
for vulnerable adults. Questions must be asked as to whether this power is
necessary. It implies the adults in charge would not grant permission for entrance in
the circumstances outlined. In these circumstances Nacro opposes this power.

Re-commencing the ‘detention clock’ on answering bail only when the investigation
can continue raises questions about the fundamental nature of the ‘detention clock’
ie. whether it is related to the length of time a person can be deprived of their liberty
or the length of time the police need to complete their investigative processes. Nacro
believes it should be the former. We do not see why in this situation the person
cannot be immediately re-bailed to the original police station where the investigation
is being conducted.

We are cautious about the use of the postal charging for vulnerable adults because
there can only be limited representations by the appropriate adult at the point of
decision to charge and the imposition of the conditions. Also it would be difficult to
inform the ex-detainee’s appropriate adult/representative of the charge.

Chapter 12: Healthcare

We welcome the emphasis on healthcare within this Chapter and the recognition that
many people held within police custody suffer from chronic or acute health and social
care needs. We are pleased that there is an intention that these should be addressed
at this stage and the PACE should complement the proposed Offender Health and
Social Care strategy due out in 2009.

Nacro has long believed that contact with the police is often, unfortunately, the first
point of intervention and the first opportunity for engagement to tackle a person’s
health needs. This could be either at the time of the incident or at the custody suite
and could result in someone being linked back into services or accessing them for
the first time. To allow this to happen requires close working between the police and
health and social care. We favour interventions that can be addressed by
neighbourhood policing and would expect this to focus on skilling up Community
Police Officers and Police Community Support Officers to assist with early
recognition of people in the community who may require a mental health intervention.

We are in favour of NHS or NHS-led commissioning of health provision at police
custody centres. We think that the lessons learnt from NHS commissioning of prison

health should be investigated and built upon. Overall the experience of the NHS
providing healthcare in prisons has been positive. Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) need
to be supported and brought on board with the idea of providing health services for

Prison mental health in-reach teams were set up without any guidance on models of
service provision and have struggled in some areas with their role and
responsibilities. Commissioners need to have greater awareness of the health needs
of offenders. The World Class Commissioning Framework should include something
specific around developing services that meet the needs of offenders.

For example, in London there are 31 PCTs but only seven currently provide services
to prisons. If healthcare was to be provided at police stations this would affect every
PCT in the country. Without proper resourcing and working to an agreed model this
may lead to some areas receiving less of a service or huge variations in service
across the country which would have to be closely monitored. London alone has 133
police stations.

We acknowledge the dilemma between providing health care services to meet the
needs of service users, ensuring the public interest test is met and providing forensic
evidence (eg. taking blood specimens, carrying out intimate searches). We would like
to see a clear separation between the provision of healthcare and forensic
examination. If necessary these should be contracted from two different providers.

We see detention at the police station as an opportunity to highlight someone’s
health and social care needs and the start of being able to have these addressed.
That already happens at the moment but it is limited. While the police collect
considerable health information when a person arrives at custody, much of this is
gathered with the intention of keeping them safe while in custody, not with the view to
having these needs addressed. Clearly, the police would seek a mental health
assessment for someone or make a referral to drug services to make sure that they
have information to ensure that they are dealt with appropriately. However, it is
unlikely that the police would look to have other health or social care needs
addressed. Few police stations have an ‘exit strategy’ for those with primary health
care needs or social care needs if they are not being processed through the criminal
justice process.

We would like to see this first point of contact with the police as being the opportunity
to highlight health and social care concerns and also to start to address them. Health
and social care information gathered by the police should move with the individual
and, with their consent, be passed to relevant agencies including their own GP.
Where consent is not given, or it is not practical to try and obtain consent, guidelines
should be in place to show in what circumstances information can be shared as well
as what type of information and how.

Rather than supporting the piloting of models of healthcare provision in police
custody suites, consideration should be given to evaluating those that currently exist.
All criminal justice mental health liaison schemes operating at police custody suites
would have been subject to the Mental Health Effective Practice evaluation carried
out by the Care Services Improvement Partnership (CSIP) for Lord Bradley’s Review
of diversion for offenders with mental health issues and the findings of this should be
analysed by the PACE consultation team. In addition, the Home Office evaluated a

custody nurse scheme in Kent4 which found that the present of nurses in custody
suites led to an improvement in police recognition of clinical issues.

The University of the West of England are also about to start the evaluation of PCT
healthcare provision in custody suites in Dorset. Results from this would be useful to
informing this consultation.

There need to be criminal justice mental health liaison and diversion schemes
operating at the police station in tandem with Drug Arrest Referral Teams. David
James5 examined the role of police station diversion schemes in London. He found
that they can be very effective and that intervention at the police station might help
prevent more serious offending. Nacro’s own experience has shown that there are
many strengths to a police station model including: easier access to community
services; ability to pass information to later stages of the criminal justice process at
the earliest opportunity; increased awareness of mental health issues by police and
forensic physicians/forensic medical examiners over time and provision of a more
fulsome initial assessment6. This is strengthened even more when linked to a
scheme at court or when the same scheme personnel cover courts and police

North London Forensic Service Police Liaison Team is made up of four Community
Psychiatric Nurses (CPNs), with one acting as a manager, on rota who cover the
boroughs of Camden and Haringey. The nurses are provided by North London
Forensic Services. Two CPNs are on duty each day for each borough. The scheme
reports to the Community Forensic Service at Chase Farm Hospital. There is also
consultant input from the forensic service. Each custody suite has a rota and will be
able to call the CPN on an on call mobile. Nurses will speak to officers who were on
duty at the weekend and look through the weekend records. In addition, the team
provides training to the police on s136 and local demographic profile of the borough.
There is a sheet up on the wall of the custody suites to remind police officers about
mental health issues. The team carries out a part mental state assessment using a
pro-forma. They will produce written reports which they share with other agencies.
They can make Community Mental Health Team, out-patient and GP appointments
for people. They will create crisis plans for individuals, provide information on
housing advice centres, work with the homelessness services and Drug and Alcohol
Team and encourage individuals to self-refer. This is the type of service that we
would like to see replicated more widely.

Where such models do not exists, the police should agree with partners how
information is to be passed along the criminal justice pathway to ensure continuity of
care and assist in appropriate and effective decision making. For example, in North
Somerset (see page 10 of this response) a form is used to routinely pass health
information to Crown Prosecutors to assist in their decision making.

We would like some explanation as to what a ‘place of care’ is as mentioned in
section 12.9 of the consultation. Those people who require hospital admission should
receive it, those needing linking back into community mental health teams should be
able to get that level of service if required. We do not think that creating a parallel
system of care for those coming into contact with the police is desirable.

  Steve Gannon (2002) Assessment report on the Kent custody nurse scheme, Home Office: London
  Dr David James (2000) Police station diversion schemes: role and efficacy in central London, Journal
of Forensic Psychiatry, volume 11, number 3, 532-555
  Nacro (2006) Liaison and diversion for mentally disordered offenders, Nacro: London

Each police area should have a mental health liaison officer at operational and
strategic level.

Nacro has been concerned for some time about the use of police stations as a ‘place
of safety’ under s136 of the Mental Health Act. Current research suggests that the
police station in being overused as a ‘place of safety’7 8 with black people twice as
likely as white people to be detained under this legislation. We would like to reiterate
that the police station should not be used as a ‘place of safety’ under the Mental
Health Act.

We would also ask that the new arrangements for transfer between ‘places of safety’
are monitored. We have already heard of at least one instance of transfers being
made from one police station to another in order to carry out a mental health
assessment, which we do not find satisfactory. All police forces should have
agreements with the NHS and ambulance services on a ‘place of safety’ that is in a
healthcare setting. We urge those undertaking this review to look closely at the
recommendations for police forces in the IPCC report on the use of s136 and to
ensure that any changes to PACE marry up with the changes to the Mental Health

We also think it is essential that all Forensic Physicians are trained and certified
under s12 of the Mental Health Act (the diagnosis and recognition of mental
disorder). Any custody nurses operating at the police station should also have mental
health training. Professionals should also be able to recognize the signs of drug
dependency and withdrawal and be able to take this into account when assessing
mental state.

Finally, we have some general comments about how health data is collected in police
custody from our work on the Health and Offender Partnerships Development
Programme in 20069:

Health data collection

Guidance produced by the National Centre for Policing Excellence (NCPE)10 makes it
clear that the custody record is the essential vehicle for the recording of information
gathered from a variety of sources in order to inform the process of risk assessment.
This includes the gathering of health information and it is recommended that
information be sought from healthcare professionals, among others. In practice, it
does not appear that this is done routinely.

The Risk Assessment form, or equivalent, is used to record information for this
purpose and to identify whether a healthcare professional needs to be called. Risk
Assessment forms vary from one force to another in terms of the breadth of the
health information they seek, though the following questions must be asked to
comply with the requirements of PACE:

Do you have any illness or injury?

  Maria Docking et al (2008) Police Custody as a ‘Place of Safety’: Examining the Use of Section 136 of
the Mental Health Act 1983, IPCC: London
  Nacro (2005) Findings of the 2004 survey of Court Diversion/Criminal Justice Mental Health Liaison
Schemes for Mentally Disordered Offenders in England and Wales
  For the full report to the Department of Health see http://www.nacro.org.uk/data/resources/nacro-
   ACPO, Home Office (2006) op cit

Have you seen a doctor or been taken to hospital for this illness or injury?
Are you taking or supposed to be taking any tablets/medication?
Are you suffering from any mental health problems or depression?
Have you ever tried to harm yourself?

We think that Risk Assessment Form 57M, which has been devised for use by the
Metropolitan Police, provides an example of a more comprehensive style of risk
assessment facilitating a greater likelihood of ensuring that an detainee’s needs are

Some police forces (eg. Merseyside Police) also use a suicide/self-harm warning
form to record information about detainees who are believed to be at risk but these
are not used routinely across all police forces. This form was piloted in Merseyside
and its use was evaluated but results proved to be inconclusive. There may also be
occasions when the police take into custody from prison people, who have already
been identified as at risk of suicide or self-harm. In such cases an Assessment, Care
in Custody, and Teamwork (ACCT) Plan will have been opened to provide custody
staff with details of the risk involved and what action to take to keep the individual

Risk of suicide or self-harm is recorded on a variety of different forms at numerous
different points in the system. To avoid duplication and the proliferation of different
forms, it would make sense for the ACCT Plan to be the means of recording suicide
or self-harm risk, and for this to be opened at whatever point in the criminal justice
system the risk first becomes apparent eg. at the police station, and then to travel
through the system with the individual. The ACCT Plan could then be attached to the
Prisoner Escort Record form.

Prison officers should be able to add information to the Police National Computer (or
the PND when available) and information on risk where it is related to health should
be recorded. There should be more space available for adding free text in the box
next to the markers for suicide and self-harm.

The variation in the manual and electronic systems used and the lack of uniformity
about the data collected means that there is no simple mechanism for retrieving
health data from custody records from police forces across the country. So while,
police forces can tell how many people were arrested in a month for theft and so on,
and the gender and ethnic breakdown of those arrests, there are few systems set up
to collate information on how many mental health assessments there were or on
other health matters. Although police forces say that it would be possible to amend
the systems to collect this data, few have actively done so.

None of the data collection forms used within the criminal justice system appear to
make any reference to allergies. Given the potential for a person to suffer
anaphylactic shock from something as simple as a food allergy, it would seem that it
would be sensible for such information to be recorded in relation to those who are to
be detained in custody.


It would make sense for the same standardised forms for the custody record sheet,
custody risk assessment, detained persons medical form and detained persons
medication form to be used by all police forces to facilitate consistency and ease in
the collection and transfer of data. It would also be helpful if police force areas had
the same case and custody IT systems. The Police Information Technology

Organisation (now part of the National Police Improvement Agency [NPIA]) had a
remit to address this but we are unclear as to what progress was made. We
understand that the NPIA now has mandatory powers to enforce an IT strategy
across all 43 police forces and this may help to bring about standardisation.

Manual of Guidance Forms

In order to pass on information to the Crown Prosecution Service, for purposes of
case preparation and decisions on whether to prosecute or not, which will ultimately
provide information to the courts, the police complete Prosecution Team Manual of
Guidance (MG) Forms.

MG Forms may be (but are not always) completed by the arresting officer. The
purpose of the MG Forms is to inform the decision whether to charge and prosecute
and thereafter to provide further information and evidence in the case, which will be
made available to the courts. Confidential healthcare information would only be
provided where it is deemed evidentially relevant to the case by the police.

There is nowhere specific on the existing forms to highlight a mental health problem
or any other relevant health issue, even though the Code for Crown Prosecutors
requires prosecutors to take account of the defendant’s physical and mental health
when weighing up the public interest in the decision whether to prosecute. Although
health information could be included on the MG5 (summary sheet of the case) or
MG6 (outlining confidential information that might be of relevance to the case) there
is no ‘health’ heading to alert the police that such information could be included and
no ‘health’ tick box on the front sheet of the case papers to alert prosecutors that this
might be an issue.

This means that the process of passing on relevant health data is somewhat
haphazard and may not happen at all. A failure to pass on relevant information, such
as a report of any mental health assessment carried out in custody, may mean that
crucial information is not taken into account, or may result in unnecessary delay and
cost because the court orders a psychiatric assessment when one has already been
done. Furthermore, the CPS will not be making an informed decision if there is
relevant health information which has not been provided and they are not advised
where that information may be obtained.

In order to overcome this problem, North Somerset Mentally Disordered Offenders
Group devised a pro-forma to be completed by health professionals following a
mental health assessment in custody as a means of alerting the CPS to relevant
health issues.

S136 monitoring forms

Where police stations are used as a ‘place of safety’ under section 136 of the Mental
Health Act 1983 (MHA) then that is usually the reason given in the custody record for
detention, rather than any offence that may have been committed. The MHA Code of
Practice states that a record of the person’s time of arrival must be made when they
enter the ‘place of safety’. Managers of the ‘place of safety’ should ensure that a form
is available to record the beginning and end of an individual’s detention under section

Monitoring forms are not standardised so there are variations in the information
collected on the forms that are used. In some cases police forces do not appear to
use s136 monitoring forms. There is also no standard procedure for collating data

recorded on the monitoring forms to ensure that there is a constructive purpose to
the process of data collection.

Chapter 13: Community Engagement in Custody

The PACE review of 200211 concluded that the present provision of Appropriate
Adults in the custody suite was chaotic and unstructured. Furthermore, research12
suggests that appropriate adults are not always used when they should be.

We support and welcome the proposals to treat those aged 17 as juveniles under

We agree that the role of the appropriate adult should be limited to those who have
received appropriate training. We have heard reports of cleaners, managers from
local supermarkets, postmen from the local sorting office and hotel commissionaires
being used as appropriate adults. These are not satisfactory arrangements. We have
also had enquiries from the police to our Information Service desperate to find
someone to act as an appropriate adult for vulnerable adults with mental health
issues who have lost contact with families and friends due to their illness. The time
spent waiting for an appropriate adult to arrive increases time spent in custody, which
puts the detainee at greater risk.

However, we think it is important that parents, guardians or other relatives should be
given the opportunity to attend at the police station. It would be wrong in principle to
give a trained appropriate adult the role at the exclusion of the parent/guardian or
friend/relative. Often a person may feel more reassured when a these people are
present. In the case of juveniles and children we would not wish to see
parents/guardians excluded, particularly around taking of intimate and other samples,
allowing access to custody records, exercising the right to legal assistance and
decisions regarding further loss or restriction of liberty. The decision on whether to
involve an appropriate adult or parent acting as an appropriate adult should be
detailed in the Codes of Practice. Proceeding without a parent/guardian should be
exceptional with the custody officer required to give reasons why they were not
present. The issues on giving consent should remain as it presently stands and
should involve parents in juvenile cases (and/or local authority in care order cases).

The appropriate adult will be responsible for facilitating communication between the
child and police, the child and solicitor, the parent and the police, the parent and
solicitor and also the parent and the child. In most cases that will be a partnership
role, but there may be tensions between child’s interest and views of parent, and in
such circumstances, the appropriate adult’s responsibility is towards the child. That
added complexity will need to be reflected in appropriate adult training. We would
also wish to see more details as to what being a ‘facilitator’ means.

The most important role an appropriate adult can play is to ensure that someone has
legal representation. We are concerned at the dilution of legal aid and that presence
of a solicitor does not always occur. Instead people are offered telephone advice by
CDS Direct Advisers. Nacro was one of the organisations alongside the Law Society

   Home Office (2002) PACE Review Report of the joint Home Office/Cabinet Office Review of the
Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, Home Office, Cabinet Office: London
   Gudjonsson et al (1993) Persons at risk during interviews in police custody: Identification of
Vulnerabilities, Great Britain Royal Commission on Criminal Justice, London:HMSO

and the National Appropriate Adult Network that insisted the clause in the General
Criminal Contract, which currently allows for a solicitor to attend the police station in
the cases of those clients who are eligible for assistance from an appropriate adult or
for those who require an interpreter, was retained.

Given that most professionals undertaking the role of the Appropriate Adult are social
workers or approved social workers (to become approved mental health
professionals under the Mental Health Act 2007) we think it should be local
authorities, rather than police authorities, that should be given the statutory role to
ensure that an effective appropriate adult scheme is operating in their police area.
We acknowledge that the boundaries of police forces are not necessarily aligned with
local authority boundaries. Therefore, it should be the local authority where the police
station is located that should be responsible for providing the service as is the case
currently for juveniles. It is also important to be clear about the boundaries around
the role of the appropriate adult. We think that it is imperative that any approved
mental health professional undertaking the role should not also be the same
professional to carry out an assessment under the Mental Health Act.

As is already the case for under 18s a statutory requirement for access to
appropriate adults should also be extended to all vulnerable adults. The lack of a
similar statutory responsibility to date has meant agencies have been unwilling to
commit resources for a service when they have no statutory obligation to do so.

There are obviously huge resource implications involved if appropriate adult schemes
are to be made a statutory requirement. Currently police rely on the goodwill of
overstretched social work services and others. The system cannot continue to rely on
volunteers as it currently does. There needs to be a properly resourced fully funded
service. Nacro would wish to be involved in scoping the potential for developing a
national support structure for appropriate adults. The National Appropriate Adult
Network (NAAN) could be involved in assisting with the establishment of resourced
appropriate adult schemes and providing training. In setting up a scheme it will be
necessary to agree:

       Where lead responsibility lies
       What the service will provide
       The details of the referral process
       The geographical area to be covered
       The management of the scheme
       Training arrangements for the appropriate adults

Schemes need to ensure that those undertaking the role of appropriate adult receive
adequate training, including refresher training, and that they are supplied with
information in writing about the agreed policy and procedure for the scheme. They
also need to be equipped with relevant paperwork, such as referral and monitoring
forms. There is a lack of training for social workers on the role and it does not
necessarily feature in generic social work degree programmes. Any training for
appropriate adults needs to include basic mental health awareness training as
standard. Many people volunteer to be appropriate adults thinking that they will be
working with young people and then face difficulties when they have to work with
vulnerable adults.

Similarly police training needs to include the role of the appropriate adult, when and
how to make a referral to an appropriate adult scheme (or indeed criminal justice

mental health liaison and diversion scheme or worker) and recognizing mental

Appropriate adults should also receive support, particularly those who have been
involved in interviews related to violent and/or sexual offences. Regular liaison
between those managing the appropriate adult scheme and the police for the area
covered allows for issues or concerns that arise to be discussed and problems to be

Currently there is a conflict of interest in the role of the appropriate adult and the
possibility that the appropriate adult could be asked to be a witness. The detainee will
sometimes be under pressure from solicitors not to see the appropriate adult on their
own or to tell them the details of the offence allegedly committed. If the role is to be
taken on by trained professionals then the role of the appropriate adult should be
afforded legal privilege.

Finally, we have concerns about the suggestion that provision of an appropriate adult
may be dispensed with when a ‘voluntary’ interview is carried out. That is an erosion
too far for any suspect who is ‘vulnerable’ either by reason of age or mental disorder.

Good practice examples

Portsmouth Advocacy and Appropriate Adult Service

The service is commissioned by Portsmouth City Council and social services and is
run by Together: working for wellbeing. It aims to assist those with a learning
disability or a mental health issue who come into contact with the police either
through arrest or as a victim or witness.

The service operates on a daily basis between 8am and 11.30pm and is provided by
trained volunteers. The scheme works in partnership with the police, drug and
alcohol teams and the Mendos service to provide training for the volunteers. More
details are available from the manager on 023 9283 7777.

Surrey Appropriate Adult Volunteer Scheme (SAAVS)

The scheme operates 24 hours a day 365 days a year and exists to provide support
and assistance to both juveniles and mentally vulnerable adults in police custody. It is
a partnership project commissioned by the youth offending team (YOT) and Surrey
social services and is run under the auspices of the Department for Social
Responsibility of the Diocese of Guildford.

The service is provided by volunteers who are split into teams covering the various
custody centres and the aim is for the appropriate adult to reach the custody suite
within 30 minutes of being called out.

For further information see the SAAVS website at http://www.saavs.org/ or ring
01306 631 143.

Chapter 14: Biometric Data & Identification Procedures

We are concerned about the proposal to ask a witness to take part in a video
identification as part of a police investigation without the necessity for the suspect to
be represented in any way during the identification process. It is suggested that the

identity of the potential witness be concealed from the defendant. This is
unconscionable. A suspect must know the identity of his accuser – subject to the
existing provisions of the Criminal Procedure Rules. Nacro is also opposed to the
withdrawal of the entitlement for the suspect’s legal adviser to be present when the
victim or witness sees the images. It is also suggested that an adverse inference be
drawn if a suspect refuses his image for a video. For very good reasons in the past
no inference could be drawn from a failure to attend a ‘live’ identification parade,
therefore those reasons cannot be negated simply because the proposed format is

Chapter 15: Questioning After Charge

Currently the rule is that questioning must cease when there is sufficient evidence to
charge the suspect. The proposed amendment that questioning should continue until
such time as there is a ‘reasonable prospect of conviction’ opens the way to a
process of wearing down the suspect and eliciting false confessions. Authorisations
regarding detention for the purpose of questioning for vulnerable groups should be
made at Superintendent level. The decision on how much evidence to secure a
conviction is a matter for the CPS and it is the task of a prosecutor to decide to
proceed based on the test of sufficient evidence and the public interest.

A detainee’s mental disorder at time of interview can make them susceptible to
interrogative suggestion. Therefore, it is imperative that where a suspect may have a
mental disorder no interview should take place unless an appropriate adult is

Next it is suggested that if a suspect fails to answer questions after the period when
sufficient evidence to charge has been gained that the court should be able to draw
an inference of guilt. The right to silence was a major plank of the criminal law.
However, since the introduction of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, this right has been
eroded. We are very concerned about the proposal for further changes by applying
the principle of adverse inference to refusals to answer questions post the ‘sufficient
evidence to charge’ period. There is a further practical danger in terrorism cases.
Here there is every prospect of conviction of terrorism for advancing views that are
regarded as antithetical to the ‘interests’ of the state. It is not open to a defendant to
advance honestly held belief in these cases as a defence. In some terrorism cases
the existence of appropriate mens rea as an essential component of guilt has been
dispensed with. If the current proposals are allowed then the prospects of conviction
are considerably enhanced if a terrorist suspect says nothing in reply to questions put
at a time when there is already sufficient evidence to charge.

The Muslim community already complains that terrorism legislation is so weighted
against Islam that it is a constraint on freedom of thought and speech. These
proposals can only service to further alienate those communities and increase the
risk of alienation; and far from increasing confidence in the criminal justice system,
achieve precisely the opposite.

Nacro does not understand the need for a specific requirement to introduce a police
bail condition enabling a requirement to return to the police station for further
questioning following a decision to refer the case to a prosecutor.

Chapter 16: Workforce Modernisation

We are opposed to the proposal that some of the roles of the custody sergeant could
be performed by civilian staff. Whilst we recognise the values and skills of civilian
staff and many of the new roles that have been created (eg. Police Community
Support Officers), we believe that the custody sergeant performs a key role in
safeguarding the rights of a detained person and should not be undermined.

In particular, for members of vulnerable groups the ‘process model’ of investigation,
with detainees passed between different functionaries undertaking their own specific
tasks could generate confusion and heighten any lack of understanding of what is

Nacro is opposed to the extension of the powers of civilian staff of the police ‘family’.
Such extensions are seen as the ‘thin end of the wedge’ in creating powers over
citizens which previously were seen as so profound they required being issued with a
warrant card. Members of vulnerable groups could be confused as to what any one
individual’s powers over them are.

Nacro is concerned about the proposals relating to what are described as ‘low risk’
sex offenders. We would like a definition of what is ‘low risk’. We would also question
what understanding people have of civilian staff without a warrant card being able to
detain for up to thirty minutes. We wonder if the use of ‘reasonable force’ will be
involved and what consultation there has been with the lead agencies and the
voluntary sector involved in safeguarding and protecting children.

Chapter 17: Foreign National Prisoners in Transit

We do not have any comments to make on these proposals.

Chapter 18: Cross Border Provisions

We do not have any comments to make on these proposals.

For more information on this response please contact:

Lucy Smith,
Senior Research and Information Officer,
Mental Health Unit,
Park Place
10-12 Lawn Lane
Tel – 020 7840 1209
Mobile - 07970 828 086
Email – lucy.smith@nacro.org.uk


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