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Renzakuken

Skipping custody

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Renzakuken

Hi all

 

Still quite new to the force so bear with me; if I have a theft of £500-600 mobile phone reported, there's credible evidence and intelligence to support the case against a named suspect so naturally I want to go to his H/A and lift him, house search and then charge (in a perfect world). 

 

If we get to his house, I could arrest for sus theft, S32 the house and then we'd convey him to custody, interview and either RUI, NFA or Charge (if the phone isn't found I can see our skippers lean towards NFA). 

 

Now; surely a faster means would be to arrive at the H/A, arrest and S32 him immediately, then (providing we don't find the phone) put him in the back of a car/van. We then S32 the house. Whilst the search is ongoing, could i contemp interview him in the back, providing he agrees and doesn't want a solicitor, then de-arrest? Surely if the phone is found I can later do a postal charge, if the phone isn't found; can I RUI? Or is that purely down to a skipper's discretion, over NFA?

I'm just thinking of making the entire process faster. 

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Sceptre

Code C states that once a person has been arrested they must not be interviewed except at a police station except under certain exigent circumstances which don't apply here, and arresting with the intention of dearresting and contemp interviewing is something of an abuse of process to circumvent the codes of practice and it could be argued deter him from seeking legal advice ("oh well we'll just have to go to the police station then..."). Interviews into indictable offences should also be audio recorded per Code E except for certain exemptions which don't apply here so a contemporaneous interview is not PACE compliant. 

You can also only search premises under S32 unless you have reasonable grounds to believe that there is evidence for which a search is permitted on them, as opposed to S18(1) where you have reasonable grounds to suspect that you will find evidence there, a lot of people don't appreciate this difference. 

So you could attend his address, lock him up with the necessity being an effective investigation by means of a S18(1) search and interview, or you could bring him in as a VA and seek a consensual search of his address. Let's not get into applying for a warrant, that's not likely to happen. 

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SD

Also, you can only contemp for shoplifting below a certain amount not just any theft.

Also why not get a s8 PACE warrant? Because if not and you turn up and he’s not there your not searching the address and you’ve tipped him off.

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Hyphen
55 minutes ago, SD said:

Also, you can only contemp for shoplifting below a certain amount not just any theft.

Also why not get a s8 PACE warrant? Because if not and you turn up and he’s not there your not searching the address and you’ve tipped him off.

I once had a Sgt who used to say that all the time. He would often drill it in to people that you then potentially lose the evidence especially if a friend/partner or whoever is home at the time and the suspect is out.

In terms of the original question in a nutshell it’s a big No. If anything you are on a slippery slope in to a bit of trouble there.

If you’re intending to arrest someone in order to make use of PACE powers (no issues there) then it needs to be done properly. The suspect would be taken to the nick and interviewed.

Also bear in mind that if you’re planning on forcing entry then this would be to make an arrest, not to then VA someone after entry is forced if that makes sense (when using Section 17).

The other option is seeking a voluntary search of the house and the VA route if practicable and appropriate which some people will allow especially if they know they’re ultimately not getting locked up and it’s getting sorted out. If they refuse to co-operate it may also strengthen your argument if you get a difficult custody sgt re your decision making and necessity side of things.

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Mac7

I have to say I cringed when I read the part about a s.32 search and interviewing in the van. I can understand your thinking but you will land yourself in hot water if you start practicing like this.

It’s worth having a talk to an Inspector about a PACE or theft act warrant. It’s not something new in service officers consider. It’s also something experienced officers seem to get twitchy about. The warrant process is very straight forward and quick once you’ve done a couple. Plus it’s a very strong tool to go to an address with. Most MOP’s understand what a warrant means and the implications of it.

Plus on a warrant you can include communal areas, outbuildings and will (under certain powers) include vehicles within the boundaries of the property. You have far more scope than a s.32 and prevents having multiple s.18’s. There are limitations to a warrants which are mainly around the searching of persons within the property. However they are very effective.

All the above is dependant on your intelligence as to the location of the phone, your suspect, make up of the property, state of your investigation etc.

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Renzakuken

Thanks to everybody who replied and for clarifying issues around PACE as well!

 

I've yet to do a voluntary house search, what criteria need to be fulfilled? A A/VA is far more likely to get the go-ahead I suspect, so how would organizing this work? Would a PAC50 still need to be completed? Surely it would need to be done when he's with me at the station, so as to ensure he doesn't return and destroy/remove the evidence. 

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Mac7

It all depends how you are going to approach a Voluntary interview and or voluntary search, particularly when there is property outstanding.

 

The suspect would have to be a fool to allow a cop entry to search knowing there is stolen property in their house. Similarly if you arrange a VA over the phone you are potentially tipping them off and you can kiss goodbye to any chance of evidence recovery.

 

To do a voluntary search you must get signed consent from the home owner/occupier first. You must also leave records of the search and property taken just like you would for any other premises search. You must also comply with code B PACE, just as you would for any premises search.

 

However, Consent can be withdrawn at anytime and if you are asked to leave, you must.

 

Our premises search forms (commonly known as s.18 forms) have a section for consensual searches. I’m sure yours will be similar. This is part of the paperwork that must completed and left with the occupier.

 

 

I’ve searched hundreds of properties. I can only recall doing one voluntarily and that was not intentional.

 

I’d steer clear.

 

Chat through the options with your supervisor. I’ve planned ops and talked through tactical options regarding enforcement with my then DI. You’ll find you gain a lot of respect. Granted this is low level but its experience to take forward.

 

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SD

Done loads of voluntary searches but tends to be for people rather than property ie those missing/wanted. Even then though I’m the only one I know who completes a form.

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MerseyLLB

I appreciate the legal benefits of applying for a warrant.

Have any of you mentioning swearing out a warrant ever tried to get a warrant for a low level shoplifting named suspect? I would suggest not. 

 

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SD
25 minutes ago, MerseyLLB said:

I appreciate the legal benefits of applying for a warrant.

Have any of you mentioning swearing out a warrant ever tried to get a warrant for a low level shoplifting named suspect? I would suggest not. 

 

Yes, when you explain a thorough rationale, as in why no other less intrusive means would work, then they issue it. That said it’s been a while since I had the time to target shoplifters but PACE hasn’t changed since I did to say I can’t.

Edited by SD

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bensonby

Practicalities of getting a warrant aside the jurisprudence has moved in such a way that in these sorts of circumstances you MUST get a warrant unless there is some over-arching urgency etc. See Lord Hanningfield v Chief Constable of Essex [2013] and The Queen (on the application of TL] v Chief Constable of Surrey [2017].

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bensonby

Essentially, arresting purely to activate powers of search under PACE is normally illegal.

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SD
7 minutes ago, bensonby said:

Practicalities of getting a warrant aside the jurisprudence has moved in such a way that in these sorts of circumstances you MUST get a warrant unless there is some over-arching urgency etc. See Lord Hanningfield v Chief Constable of Essex [2013] and The Queen (on the application of TL] v Chief Constable of Surrey [2017].

I was going to link Hanningfield then thought perhaps not. But it’s a running argument with some on my shift who thinks that case law’s just for ‘big jobs’.

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Mac7
I appreciate the legal benefits of applying for a warrant.
Have any of you mentioning swearing out a warrant ever tried to get a warrant for a low level shoplifting named suspect? I would suggest not. 
 


Hence why I said talk it through with an Inspector. Without going into details about the state of the investigation and the intelligence around the suspect it’s impossible to say whether or not it would be authorised.

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MerseyLLB
1 hour ago, bensonby said:

Practicalities of getting a warrant aside the jurisprudence has moved in such a way that in these sorts of circumstances you MUST get a warrant unless there is some over-arching urgency etc. See Lord Hanningfield v Chief Constable of Essex [2013] and The Queen (on the application of TL] v Chief Constable of Surrey [2017].

I find the first case to be easily distinguishable from most of the cases we would be dealing with that we generally discuss...this is clearly a large complex case requiring a through search and I would envisage in those circumstances that a warrant would be a reasonable tactic to consider owing to the lack of urgency and defects in the necessity.

 

However the second case is interesting.

I find myself agreeing with the rationale of the officers involved and whilst I must respect the courts decision I feel that perhaps we will require a new system/process if warrants are to become the go to option.

I'm also unclear as to exactly what is suggested - there is on the face of it both a need to interview for the allegations of a serious nature as well as a need to search a premises for evidence relating to that offence.

I can understand that there are some investigations where the execution of a warrant with nothing found will result in no further action/interview/process. In those circumstances I understand that a warrant is the most suitable tool and that to arrest to then de-arrest would be an abuse of process.

However, if we intend to locate somebody and, regardless of whether items are found at the premises, interview them in relation to a serious offence then arrest would seem to be both necessary and proportionate. In the case of rape or sexual assault allegations there would be a legitimate concern that harm has been caused and that harm might again be caused to the victim (dependent of course on the facts of the case, time lapsed etc).

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