6 comments/updates on “Stop and Account – Cambridge Police Confirm They Ignore PACE Code A

  1. Richard Article author

    I wrote to Mr Fuller, the Community Engagement Manager at Cambridgeshire Police thanking him for elucidating the above from Mr Hill.

    Mr Fuller,

    Thank you for seeking this further reply to my concerns.

    I am shocked to see the police officer dismiss the PACE codes as: “not primary legislation”, the PACE codes are drafted by ministers and approved by both houses of parliament, while I agree the codes are not primary legislation, I disagree with the police officer’s implication that therefore compliance with the PACE codes is voluntary. I find the police ignoring the will of parliament in this way very worrying.

    Mr Hill has not addressed my questions surrounding the end of the trial; When will it end? Will the form come back into use at the end of the trial? Who will review the results of the trial? Is there an opportunity for the results of the Cambridgeshire trial to be collated with the officially announced home office trial? I am not suggesting you ask Mr Hill to write to me again, but it would be good to see the answers to these questions enter the public domain.

    Now that I have a clear admission that the police in Cambridgeshire are knowingly and willingly ignoring the PACE codes I will be able to pursue this more easily and effectively with members of the police authority and my MP.

    Richard Taylor

  2. Richard Article author

    Michael Zander has written to Cambridgeshire Police following my alerting him to the situation:

    Dear Mr Hill,

    Richard Taylor has sent me your email to him of 11 July regarding your force’s action in regard to Stop and Account.

    In your email you state in regard to the Codes: ‘These codes of Practice are not primary legislation but guidance associated with the Act. Whilst as a constabulary we will always seek to apply Codes of Practice where they exist, there is a need to move away from the guidance on this occasion to enable the trial of a process which may secure benefits to both public and police alike. . . We therefore want to explore if there is a better way of administering the process ….’

    I do not share your view that the Codes are ‘guidance’. The only part of the Codes that are guidance are the Notes for Guidance. Apart from them, the provisions of the Codes are rules approved by both Houses of Parliament that have to be followed. In my view it is therefore not open to a police force to undertake DIY setting aside of any of the provisions of the Codes – however sensible the objective.

    I am informed that your force is in active re-consideration of this issue with the Home Office and would be grateful to be told what is the state of play.

    I intend to publish something about the matter to draw attention to what seems to me to be a dangeorus misconception regarding the status of the Codes.

    Yours sincerely,

    Michael Zander QC
    Emeritus Professor of Law, LSE, author of
    The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (5th ed. 2005)
    and member of the Home Office’s PACE Review Board

  3. Richard Article author

    Mr Zander wrote to me to say he would raise this matter at the PACE review board, he also wrote an article published in the New Law Journal published on 8 August 2008 (p.1121).

    The title / headline is : “Chaos will follow if police forces are allowed to rip up the rule book, says Professor Michael Zander QC”.

    The article starts:

    Cambridgeshire is currently piloting a new way of recording Stop and Encounter. The merits of the pilot are not the concern. The issue is that by running an unauthorised, Do-It-Yourself pilot the Cambridgeshire police risks destroying the essence of the PACE system.

    and ends:

    What is needed now is a categorical public statement by the Home Secretary in Parliament making it clear to all forces that what has happened in Cambridgeshire must not happen again

  4. Brian Johnson

    D’oh! I *know* what this reminds me of!

    It’s from ‘The Pirates of the Caribbean’ when Barbossa kidnaps Elizabeth after giving his word according to ‘The Pirate’s Code’.

    Elizabeth: Wait! You have to take me to shore. According to the Code of the Order of the Brethren…

    Barbossa: First, your return to shore was not part of our negotiations nor our agreement so I must do nothing. And secondly, you must be a pirate for the Pirate’s Code to apply and you’re not. And thirdly, the Code is more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules. Welcome aboard the Black Pearl, Miss Turner.

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