Can a detainee be questioned on additional matters when the detention period has been extended?

11 March 2020

Not reviewed after the date of publication

Question:

A superintendent has authorised an extended detention period, can a detainee be questioned about additional matters they were not arrested for during this time?

Answer: 

There is generally nothing preventing a suspect from being questioned about additional matters during this period and we have outlined the relevant legislative provisions below.

Section 31 of PACE outlines the procedure to be followed when a suspect is already under arrest, but suspected of another offence during the time they are in police detention. The section states that:

'31 Where -

(a) a person -

(i) has been arrested for an offence; and
(ii) is at police station in consequence of that arrest; and

(b) it appears to a constable that, if he were released from that arrest, he would be liable to arrest for some other offence, he shall be arrested for that other offence.'

In circumstances where the original clock has been extended by a superintendent under section 42 of PACE and officers have subsequently become aware of a secondary offence for which it is necessary to arrest, then officers should proceed to arrest and interview the individual regarding that offence. In this case, the relevant time for the secondary offence would commence at the time the suspect arrived at the police station for the original offence and the clock would continue to apply, as per section 41(2) and (4) of PACE.

Where necessity grounds to arrest aren't present for a secondary offence, then the suspect would not be liable for arrest regarding following the procedures directed section 31 of PACE. This would not however prevent interviews for any secondary offence taking place during the custody extension, as long as any interview undertaken is in line with PACE Code C and the suspect is told in clear terms the nature of the second offence for which they are being interviewed.

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