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Criminal Proceedings: Disclosure of Information

Home Department written question – answered on 21st January 2008.

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Photo of David Ruffley David Ruffley Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will list the codes of practice issued under the (a) Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and (b) Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 on the disclosure of information to defendants; what changes have been made to each since their original publication date; which have been subject to (i) a review and (ii) a public consultation by her Department; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Tony McNulty Tony McNulty Minister of State (Security, Counter-terrorism, Crime and Policing), Home Office

The information requested is as follows:

PACE Codes

The following Codes of Practice have been issued under the provisions of section 60 and Part VI of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. These are:

Code A: Stop and Search introduced 1 January 1986 SI 1985/1937

Code B: Entry search and seizure introduced 1 January 1986 SI 1985/1937

Code C: Detention Questioning and Treatment (excluding terrorism cases) introduced 1 January 1986 S11985/1937

Code D: Identification introduced 1 January 1986 SI 1985/1937

Code E: Tape/Audio recording of interviews with suspects introduced on 20 July 1988 SI 1988/1200

Code F: Visual Recording of interviews with suspects introduced on 30 October 2002 SI 2002/2527. Selected force areas for pilot purposes. Order revoked 1 November 2003 SI 2003/2463

Code G: Arrest introduced on 1 January 2006 SI 2005/3503

Code H: Detention Questioning and Treatment (terrorism cases only) introduced on 25 July 2006 SI 2006/1938

All changes proposed to the PACE codes are subject to parliamentary scrutiny and approval. Prior to presentation before Parliament, there is either a full public consultation or a consultation with statutory stakeholders in accordance with section 67 (4) of PACE. The determination of the consultation process is carried out in discussion with the Home Affairs Committee.

The codes have been subject to change since their introduction in 1986. These changes have been carried out to reflect changes in the provisions of PACE and other legislation governing police powers and procedure. The changes have been detailed and extensive. An itemised list of all changes made since 1986 is not held centrally. However, I have placed in the Library a list of the relevant statutory instruments relating to the introduction of and revision to the PACE Codes since 1986 with a brief description of their effect; and details of the more recent changes can be found on the Home Office websites at

http://police.homeoffice.gov.uk/operational-policing/powers-pace-codes/pace-code-intro

In March 2007 we announced the review of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and associated codes of practice (see PACE Review page on the Home Office website). We are currently considering final proposals on making the contents of the codes more accessible to both practitioners and members of the public. Final proposals will be subject to a final consultation in spring 2008.

CPIA Code

The original Code of Practice under section 23(1) of the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 (CPIA) was introduced by SI 1997/1033 and came into effect on 1 April 1997. A new version of this code of practice was introduced by SI 2005/985 and came into effect on 4 April 2005 (http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2005/20050985.htm). The 2005 version of this code was preceded by a review and a public consultation exercise, "Criminal Justice Act 2003 Implementation: Disclosure Codes of Practice A Consultation Document". (http://www. homeoffice.gov.uk/documents/2004-cons-cja-implementation/2004-cons-cja-implementation-doc?view=Binary)

The main changes made in the revised version include new provision for deputy disclosure officers and greater facility for the retention of copies instead of original investigative material.

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