Does a hospital visit for investigative purposes stop the custody clock?

07 March 2018

Not reviewed after the date of publication


Where a person has been arrested for an offence and goes to hospital for an x-ray or ultrasound under PACE, should their 'custody clock' stop? Does it make a difference whether they are going to hospital for medical treatment or as part of the investigation?


Section 41 of PACE 1984, provides a 24 hour time limit for detaining a person without charge, following which they must be released with or without bail unless authorised by the superintendent or a warrant obtained from a magistrate' courtSection 41(2)(d) provides that the relevant time starts when the arrested person first arrives at the police station. Section 41(6) allows for the detention clock to be stopped when attending hospital for medical purposes, as long as the person is not questioned during that time for the purpose of obtaining evidence relating to the offence.

If the person is taken to the hospital for investigative purposes, rather than for medical reasons, e.g. an x-ray, ultrasound or intimate search for drugs, the clock will not be stopped.

To read more legislation about this subscribe to PNLD.

Back to Legal Questions