The Role of a Custody Officer

Topics: Custody suite, Arbitrary arrest and detention, Human rights Pages: 6 (2600 words) Published: March 8, 2013
The role of the custody officer was created by the Police and Criminal evidence act 1984 (PACE act). Throughout this essay I will be discussing the role of the custody officer and exploring the stages that must be undertaken when a person is detained and processed through custody post arrest. I will also discuss the various sections of the Human Rights Act 1998 that are affected when a person is detained, the limits of a persons detention, and the processes that must be undertaken if the custody officer wishes to extend the time that a person is kept in custody. I will be exploring the duties of the custody officer and what the job role entails on a day to day basis. Whatever is done by the custody officer is to be undertaken in a certain manor and in accordance with the PACE act, some of the processes being more time consuming than others. I will also look at limits of detention and the process of review where the custody officer must work alongside the review officer to determine whether the detainee should be held in custody for a longer period of time to gather further evidence. Under the Policing and Crime Act 2009, the chief officer must appoint one or more custody officers of at least the rank of sergeant for every designated police station in the area. When undertaking the role of custody officer, an important thing to keep in mind is the Human Rights act 1998. The human rights act is an act of parliament that outlines the basic rights every person should have, regardless of race, age, gender or any other factor. (Legislation 1998) It is important for a custody officer to understand the human rights act as detaining a person can be in close breach of some of the articles within the act, for example article three: Prohibition of torture. The custody officer must understand what actions are acceptable and appropriate to undertake when detaining a person. The use of handcuffs is not classed as a breach of article three of the human rights act, however if the custody officer detains a person for legally longer than they are allowed to without extension of the detention period, this can be classed as a breach of this article. The Police and Criminal evidence act sets out the conditions in which a person can be held in police detention. The PACE act is used as guidelines as to how long a person can be detained and under what conditions they must be released. This comes under sections 34 to 51. These sections make up Part IV of the PACE act (1984) and define aspects such as the responsibilities of the custody officer and the amount of time a person can be detained. Within these sections there is also a basic timetable which is set out. The custody officer follows this in order to make important decisions relating to detention and the detainees charge. The act also defines and explains the process of extending the detention period if needs be and what the steps are that the custody officer must go through to successfully achieve this. Extending the detention period will be a subject I explore further into this essay. The PACE act clearly states that the roles of the investigating officer and the custody officer should be kept separate, whoever does take the role of custody officer, should not be involved in the investigation of the offence the detainee has been arrested for. When a person is in police detention, they have been taken to a police station following arrest, or have attended a police station voluntarily and are then arrested and detained. Nine times out of ten, the detainee will always be taken to and held at a designated police station. This station is designated by the chief officer of police for each area. In some cases, the detainee is sometimes taken or can be taken to a police station that is not designated for the area in which they committed their offence, in the event of this happening; any officer there not involved with the investigation can undertake the role of custody officer, if there is nobody...
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