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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I am told that Pace 1984 codes of practice code C clearly states that the the responsibili

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I am told that Pace 1984 codes of practice code C clearly states that the the responsibility to undertake an effective pre-release risk assessment rests with the Custody officer alone and that this responsibility cannot be delegated. I cannot find this within the codes. I have been advised by a colleague that this is not part of pace but part of a standard operating procedure.
Can you explain your situation a little more?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I was custody officer in June 2013 when i released a male from custody where no grounds existed to detain him further. Two weeks later this detainee went on to commit a serious offence against the person who had made the allegations leading to his arrest.The defendant pleaded guilty and is now in prison. After an IPCC investigation it was found that i should have carried out a pre-release risk assessment in accordance with code C of Pace and would have been subject to gross misconduct proceedings if i was still a serving Police officer. I retired in October 2013 I had no power to detain as the victim had made retraction statements stating what she had alleged had not happened. I cannot get a job in the policing sector as this always crops up during the vetting procedure. I am looking to appeal the decision if possible.
They always blame officers. It always amazes me that force policy gets blamed upon officers when it blows up in the faces of the Constabulary.
When women could just not have relationships with dangerous men. Much cheaper for the taxpayer too.
I actually can't see it in Code C either. In fact, Code C covers detention anyway so it is surprising that release would be included.
Ok. I cannot see it in Code C at all either. I am slightly surprised that I can't find anything that covers an ongoing duty to review but I cannot.The reality here though is that if there was no evidence then there was no evidence. You could not lawfully hold a person against whom there was no evidence. We both know that retraction statements do not necessarily means that any evidence gathered previously is removed. We probably also know that the whole thing is usually a complete waste of time and money for us all. Even if she had said that she lied in her first statement there was always the option of summonsing her.Moreover, you don't need to breach the law to commit gross misconduct. Breaches of procedures alone would be enough. It would depend how severe the breaches were.Nevertheless, if they are saying that you are in breach of the Code then that would appear to be wrong.Can I clarify anything for you?Jo
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the above, what i can find in the codes of practice is replicated below. Has this any bearing?The National Decision model speaks of pre-release risk assessment by Custody officers. Is this part of PACE?
Have i got grounds to complain the IPCC investigation is flawed and therefore reviewed.3.9 The custody officer is responsible for implementing the response to any specific risk assessment, e.g.:
• reducing opportunities for self harm;
• calling an appropriate healthcare professional;
• increasing levels of monitoring or observation;
• reducing the risk to those who come into contact with the detainee. See Note 3E.

3E Home Office Circular 32/2000 and the Guidance on the Safer Detention and Handling of Persons in Police Custody Second Edition (2012) produced on behalf of the Association of Chief Police Officers provide more detailed guidance on risk assessments and identify key risk areas which should always be considered.Below are the important extracts from the final IPCC report with names omitted. The consequence being as stated, a marker against me when applying for Police sector jobs when it comes to security vetting.The Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) 1984 Codes of Practice Code C regulates the treatment of person detained in custody. This clearly states the responsibility to undertake an effective pre-release risk assessment rests with the Custody Officer. The responsibility cannot be delegated. Consideration should have been given to the impact the release of xxxxx could have had on xxxxx and her children.The investigator is of the opinion that there is sufficient evidence to suggest that PS Ellis may have failed to undertake an effective risk assessment, such that a reasonable misconduct hearing, could find, on the balance of probabilities, misconduct had PS Ellis still being a serving officer with xxxx Police.As the Custody Officer, PS Ellis had a duty under PACE 1984, Code C to carry out a risk assessment before releasing xxxxx from custody. In these circumstances, he ought to have persisted in his attempts to contact ************** or his team; so that an appropriate risk assessment could be formulated. Were he still a serving police officer a misconduct hearing could, on the balance of probabilities, find for gross misconduct. Therefore if still serving he would have a case to answer for misconduct.Is it worth fighting? it is the principle as i feel cheated after 30 years unblemished Police service.Thanks
No, that is an ACPO guideline.There might be a gross misconduct point but there isn't unlawful.
Did the police federation offer any assistance over this at all?It seems to me that the workings out are just wrong. It is not in the Codes anywhere that I can see. It is not just that it is not in Code C. I can't find it anywhere. I cannot even find anything that would cover an obligation to do this.I can see that there is a general duty to consider mental health and the like but that doesn't allow you to delay release unless there is an immediate fear of danger and anyway is not in Code C.The problem is that the conclusion might well be correct. If there is a policy on the point and there was a breach of that policy then that could still be gross misconduct. The IPCC do quite often get things wrong.Home office circulars aren't law. They can provide an argument for how law should be interpreted but no more than that.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have not involved the police federation up to now. I don't know whether they would be interested as I have been retired for 2.5 years now. I feel very hard done by as I do not believe I have done anything wrong and need to clear my name.
No, I do is actually about time somebody took the forces on about their practice of blaming individual officers for doing no more than following policy or applying law.
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for help
No problem.All the best.