Time limits on delaying rights in custody

31 July 2019

Not reviewed after the date of publication

Question:

We have four people in custody for an indictable offence and their detention has been extended by the Magistrates' Court. The suspects have all have their right to call a nominated person blocked by an Inspector until further arrests are made.

Now that the warrant for further detention has been authorised, can we further delay their right to have someone notified?

Answer:

PACE, Code of Practice C, section 5, concerns the rights of detained persons to have someone informed of their arrest and to contact someone. Code of Practice C, Annex B relates to the delay of a person's rights under section 5. The exercise of these rights may be delayed by an officer of Inspector or above, if he has reasonable grounds for believing their exercise will:

(i) lead to interference with, or harm to, evidence connected with a indictable offence; or interference with, or physical injury to, other people; or
(ii) lead to alerting other people suspected of having committed an indictable offence but not yet arrested for it; or
(iii) hinder the recovery of property obtained in consequence of the commission of such an offence.

Paragraph 6 of Annex B states:

'6. These rights may be delayed only for as long as grounds exist and in no case beyond 36 hours after the relevant time as in PACE, section 41. If the grounds cease to apply within this time, the detainee, must as soon as practicable, be asked if they want to exercise either right, the custody record must be noted accordingly, and action taken in accordance with the relevant section of the Code.'

Therefore, regardless how many hours you can keep the person in detention via extensions to the authorised detention period, you can only delay the right to contact someone for up to 36 hours from the relevant time.

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