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In Police Custody: Police Powers and Suspects' Rights Under the Revised PACE Codes of Practice

NCJ Number
Tom Bucke; David Brown
Date Published
101 pages
The British Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) addresses the central stages of the criminal investigation process from crime to trial; this report assesses the extent to which the new provisions of PACE are used, examines to whom they are applied, and evaluates any resulting changes with reference to previous research findings, with attention to police custody procedures.
The research was conducted at 25 police stations in 10 forces. Data collection involved observation in police custody areas, analysis of custody records, and the administration of questionnaires to investigating officers. The study found that nearly one in five police detainees were juveniles (19 percent); the majority of these had an "appropriate" adult attend the police station while they were in custody. Two percent of detainees were initially managed as mentally disordered or handicapped; appropriate adults attended in about two-thirds of these cases. It was rare for custody officers to provide guidance to appropriate adults, and those acting in this role rarely asked for an explanation of what was required of them. Regarding legal advice, detainees are increasingly likely to request legal advice while in custody. Although 40 percent of suspects requested legal advice, only 34 percent actually received legal advice while in custody. Compared to previous studies, the proportion of unqualified "legal representatives" giving advice to suspects apparently has declined. Fifty-eight percent of those interviewed made confessions to the police; the proportion of suspects making confessions appears to have remained broadly the same since the provisions concerning the inference from silence were introduced. Other subjects for which findings are presented are the obtaining of body samples for forensic analysis, body searches, identification line-ups, the disposition of detentions, and bail after charge. Chapter tables and figures and 38 references


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