06 September 2017
Not reviewed after the date of publication
A male from Scotland has sent his ex-wife, who lives in England, letters of an abusive nature that have caused her anxiety. The suspect has been located and he is willing to be interviewed. What is the proper course of action in order to get the suspect's account?
It might be necessary for an officer from your force to interview the suspect in Scotland. English police officers have the power to go to Scotland and voluntarily interview for offences committed in England by that person. Although PACE will not apply outside of England/Wales, we would advise that the provisions and safeguards of the Act be followed as far as possible. PACE, code of Practice C, paragraph 3.21 outlines the procedure to be followed for voluntary interviews both at a police station or other location. There are practical arrangements you would have to consider such as providing legal advice (although this could be provided via telephone), recording the interview, and what action you will take if the suspect walks out of the interview. Even in the case of a voluntary interview, it is advisable to inform the local police force, especially if it might be necessary to an arrest later. However, if the officer decides to arrest the suspect during that interview, he or she must stop the interview and take the suspect to the nearest designated police station in England and Wales or back to the original force area. There is no provision for the suspect to be taken to a Scottish police station to be interviewed and then bailed. The Scottish police cannot lawfully detain and interview the suspect on behalf of a police force in England.
For further information on cross border powers, see the following documents on PNLD:
- Cross Border - suspects who flee to or move to Scotland - helpful explanations (1); and
- Cross Border - arrests - helpful explanations (2).
You can find some of our previous notable legal queries here, please note that they are not reviewed after publication.