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.

Revised PACE codes

Following the consultation published in November 2011, revised versions of PACE codes C, G and H have now come into effect. Current versions are available at the bottom of this page, while both updated and older versions are available on the PACE codes page.

Codes C and H

Many of the changes to code C are mirrored (with modifications as necessary) in code H and vice versa in order to ensure consistency. Particular changes include:

  • allowing the custody officer to direct custody staff to carry out certain actions in relation to a detainee's rights and entitlements, need for medical treatment and the risk assessment process
  • supporting code G (Arrest) concerning 'voluntary' interviews by police and explaining the arrangements for obtaining free legal advice if a police interview takes place
  • allowing those in whose welfare the detainee has an interest to visit
  • updating the arrangements for access to legal advice and safeguards for detainees who change their mind about wanting advice
  • simplifying arrangements for mandatory notification of the arrest of foreign nationals and asylum claims
  • updated provisions on the self-administration of controlled drugs and the application of safeguards for detainees suspected of being under the influence of drink or drugs or both
  • detention without charge in terrorism cases
  • post-charge questioning and detention in terrorism cases, for the purposes of which a new code of practice for video recording of interviews also comes into operation

Code G (Arrest)

The revisions to code G:

  • update provisions and guidance for police about their statutory power under section 24 of PACE to arrest any person without warrant for any offence
  • clarify and emphasise the application of the necessity criteria in section 24(5) of the Act and reflect a number of court judgments about the need to arrest to interview ('voluntary interviews') where the only investigative action required is to interview the suspect and victim
  • make it clear that arrests may not be made solely to obtain fingerprints and DNA
  • additional notes for guidance refer to the law on self defence which may be particularly relevant to officers dealing with allegations of assault; this includes provisions specific to teachers, which allow the use of reasonable force to prevent their pupils from committing any offence, injuring persons, damaging property or prejudicing the maintenance of good order and discipline

Copies of the PACE codes are available at 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 6 March 2011
Code C came into effect after midnight on 10 July 2012
Codes E and F came into effect after midnight on 30 April 2010
Code G came into effect after midnight on 12 November 2012
Code H came into effect after midnight on 10 July 2012

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