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Clause 111 - Staff custody officers: designation

Part of Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:30 pm on 18th January 2005.

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Photo of David Heath David Heath Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs) 4:30 pm, 18th January 2005

The hon. Gentleman is correct. I have mentioned that issue in passing as part of the role of the custody sergeant.

I would need a high level of persuasion from the Minister to believe that someone without police experience would be able to exercise that authority and make such assessments. I am not saying that that is impossible; clearly, that is not the case, because somebody may have been trained and have achieved the same level of seniority. However, it is difficult to believe that a person could make the judgment without the genuine experience of having worked as a constable or sergeant in the police force. More important, it is even more difficult to believe that other police officers would think that a civilian taking on that role had the necessary authority and experience. That is a crucial element of the equation.