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Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) and accompanying codes of practice

The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and the PACE codes of practice provide the core framework of police powers and safeguards around stop and search, arrest, detention, investigation, identification and interviewing detainees

Changes to PACE codes A, B and D

Revised PACE codes of practice for codes A, B and D came into force after midnight on the 6 March 2011.

At the same time we commenced sections 1 to 7 of the Crime and Security Act 2010 and section 117 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005. These amend PACE in regards to stop and search recording and powers to take fingerprints and DNA.

Introductory general provisions in each Code draw attention to the Equality Act 2010 and the duty of police to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation on the grounds of the protected characteristic set out in that Act.

Code A (Stop and search)

The code A changes:

  • abolish the national recording requirement for stop and account.  However, forces have discretion to record stop and account where there are local concerns
  • reflect amendments to the recording requirements for stop and search in section 1 of PACE.
    • self defined ethnicity
    • object of search
    • grounds for search
    • identity of the officer carrying out the stop and search
    • date
    • time
    • place

Officers are only required to record

  • Include additional guidance on section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 to provide safeguards against unlawful discrimination.

Please note that, with effect from 0001 on 18 March 2011, sections 44-47 of the Terrorism Act 2000 ceased to have effect and that paragraphs 2.18A-2.26 of Code A also cease to have effect. For further details of this, including the new powers to stop suspected terrorists and the attendant Code of Practice, which supersedes Code A for these purposes, please see the Terrorism Act 2000 (Remedial) Order 2011.

Code B (Searching premises)

The code B changes

  • Apply code B to the powers introduced by the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 to search premises of persons subject to control orders.
    • on the power to search premises without a warrant under section 18 of PACE to point out that the power applies only to premises which are occupied or controlled by a person under arrest for an indictable offence - suspicion is not sufficient
      • the occupier must be informed that they may withdraw their consent at any time;
      • lodging houses and hostel accommodation should not be searched solely on the basis of a landlords consent
  • Update references to powers concerning international co-operation and to the powers to search premises under the Terrorism Act 2000 which also allow persons on the premises to be searched.
    • New powers to take fingerprints and samples from someone convicted outside of England and Wales of certain offences – ‘qualifying offences’
    • New requirements for a person to attend a police station to have their fingerprints and samples taken
    • Changes to the information to be given before fingerprints and samples are taken and recorded after taking.

Code D (Identification)

Code D changes:

  • Reflect the introduction of the power to take fingerprints using mobile fingerprinting technology inserted into PACE by section 117 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005.
  • Provide new guidance to distinguish eye-witness identification procedures such as video identification from procedures for obtaining recognition evidence by viewing CCTV and similar images.
  • Provide greater protection for witnesses attending a video identification by removing a suspect’s entitlement to be informed of the date and time of the viewing and to have a representative other than a solicitor attend the viewing.  This does not remove the requirement to record a viewing if no representative of the suspect attends, but aims to prevent associates of the suspect intimidating a witness before a viewing.

Copies of the PACE Codes are available on the links below.

If you have any questions about the provisions and commencement of the Acts mentioned or the Codes you can contact us using the details opposite.

PACE sets out to strike the right balance between the powers of the police and the rights and freedoms of the public. Maintaining that balance is a key element of PACE.

Current PACE codes

The latest versions of the codes are available below:

  • codes A, B and D came into effect after midnight on 06 March 2011
  • code C came into effect after midnight on 31 January 2008
  • codes E and F came into effect after midnight on 30 April 2010
  • code G came into effect after midnight on 31 December 2005
  • code H came into effect after midnight on 24 July 2006.

Users of the 2005 edition of the codes (and the 2006 edition of code C) should make use of the addendum attached below.

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