Police Custody: Legal Opinion

Home Office written question – answered on 21st September 2021.

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Photo of Holly Lynch Holly Lynch Shadow Minister (Home Office)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether legal practitioners are providing in-person attendance to all suspects who have not tested positive for covid-19 in police custody.

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Minister of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

The Joint Interim Interview Protocol was developed by the CPS, NPCC, Law Society, Criminal Law Solicitors’ Association and the London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association as a temporary requirement at the start of the pandemic to ensure the functioning of the criminal justice system was maintained.

Since stage 3 of the Government’s ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown on 17 May, solicitors have been required to attend interviews with children and vulnerable adults in person to ensure the most vulnerable in society receive in person support. A complete exit strategy from the protocol is ongoing with the intention to return to full provision of in person advice. It is for the signatories to this protocol – the NPCC, CPS and solicitors’ organisations – to determine how this should progress.

The Home Office has been chairing a weekly operational meeting with custody partners since March 2020 which ensures the operational impact of the interview protocol is assessed on a continuing basis.

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