When does a warrant of further detention commence?

10 January 2019

Not reviewed after the date of publication

Question:

A suspect is in police custody. A Superintendent's extension of 12 hours has been authorised to increase the possible time in detention to 36 hours. After 32 hours in custody, the Magistrates' Court grants a warrant of further detention to provide a further extension of 36 hours.

When does the 36 hour period granted by the Magistrates' Court begin? At the time it was granted, or at the end of the 36 hours allowed by the Superintendent's extension?

Answer:

Section 43 of PACE provides the procedure whereby a Magistrates' Court may issue a warrant allowing the police to lawfully detain a person for a further period of up 36 hours.

Where the court grants a warrant for further detention, the period takes effect from when the warrant is issued, even though the warrant may have been granted before the expiry of the Superintendent's extension.

Using the example provided, if a warrant for a further 36 hours is granted 8 hours into a Superintendent's extension period (i.e. after 32 hours in custody), the suspect can be detained for a further 36 hours from that time (NOT 36 hours plus the unused 4 hours of the superintendent's extension).

However if the court refuses to grant the 36 hour warrant for further detention, then the balance of the Superintendent's extension is still valid and can still be used.

Where the magistrate was convinced of the reasons for the requirement, the 4 hours balance of the superintendent's extension that might otherwise be lost, could be granted under section 44 of PACE up to a total detention time of 96 hours.

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