Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984
The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) (1984 c. 60) is an Act of Parliament
Act of Parliament
An Act of Parliament is a statute enacted as primary legislation by a national or sub-national parliament. In the Republic of Ireland the term Act of the Oireachtas is used, and in the United States the term Act of Congress is used.In Commonwealth countries, the term is used both in a narrow...

 which instituted a legislative framework for the powers of police officers in England and Wales
England and Wales
England and Wales is a jurisdiction within the United Kingdom. It consists of England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom...

 to combat crime, as well as providing codes of practice for the exercise of those powers. Part VI of PACE required the Home Secretary to issue Codes of Practice governing police powers. The aim of PACE has always been to establish a balance between the powers of the police in England and Wales
England and Wales
England and Wales is a jurisdiction within the United Kingdom. It consists of England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom...

 and the rights of members of the public. Equivalent provision is made for Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 by the Police and Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1989 (SI 1989/1341). No equivalent act exists in Scots Law. Although PACE is a fairly wide ranging piece of legislation, it mainly deals with police powers to search an individual or premises, including their powers to gain entry to those premises, the handling of exhibits
Exhibit (Legal)
An exhibit, in a criminal prosecution or a civil trial, is physical or documentary evidence brought before the jury. The artifact or document itself is presented for the jury's inspection...

 seized from those searches, and the treatment of suspects once they are in custody, including being interviewed. Specific legislation as to more wide ranging conduct of a criminal investigation is contained within the Criminal Procedures and Investigation Act 1996.

Criminal liability may arise if the specific terms of the Act itself are not conformed to, whereas failure to conform to the codes of practice while searching, arresting, detaining or interviewing a suspect may lead to evidence obtained during the process becoming inadmissible in court.

PACE was significantly modified by the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005
Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005
The Serious Organized Crime and Police Act 2005 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom aimed primarily at creating the Serious Organised Crime Agency, it also significantly extended and simplified the powers of arrest of a constable and introduced restrictions on protests in the...

. This replaced nearly all existing powers of arrest, including the category of arrestable offence
Arrestable offence
Arrestable offence is a legal term now obsolete in English law and the legal system of Northern Ireland, but still used in the legal system of the Republic of Ireland. The Criminal Law Act 1967 introduced the category to replace the ancient term felony...

s, with a new general power of arrest for all offences.

PACE is applicable not only to police officers but to anyone with conduct of a criminal investigation including, but not limited to, Revenue and Customs and to military investigations. Any person with a duty of investigating criminal offences or charging offenders is also required to follow the provisions of the PACE codes of practice as far as practical and relevant.

Despite its safeguards, PACE was extremely controversial on its introduction, and reviews have also been controversial, as the Act was thought to give considerable extra powers to the police.


The 1981 Brixton riots, and the subsequent Scarman report
Scarman report
The Scarman report was commissioned by the UK Government following the 1981 Brixton riots. Lord Scarman was appointed by then Home Secretary William Whitelaw on 14 April 1981 to hold the enquiry into the riots...

 were key factors in the passage of the Act.

PACE Codes of Practice

The Home Office
Home Office
The Home Office is the United Kingdom government department responsible for immigration control, security, and order. As such it is responsible for the police, UK Border Agency, and the Security Service . It is also in charge of government policy on security-related issues such as drugs,...

 and the Cabinet Office
Cabinet Office
The Cabinet Office is a department of the Government of the United Kingdom responsible for supporting the Prime Minister and Cabinet of the United Kingdom....

 announced a joint review of PACE and its codes of practice in May 2002, and on 31 July 2004, new PACE Codes of Practice came into effect. Following a further review in 2010, PACE Codes A, B and D were re-issued to take effect on 7th March 2011.
  • PACE Code A: deals with the exercise by police officers of statutory powers to search a person or a vehicle without first making an arrest. It also deals with the need for a police officer to make a record of such a stop or encounter. On 1 January 2009, Code A was amended to remove lengthy stop and account recording procedures, requiring police to only record a subject's ethnicity
    Self Defined Ethnicity
    Self Defined Ethnicity codes are a set of codes used by the Home Office in the United Kingdom to classify an individual's ethnicity according to that person's self-definition....

     and to issue them with a receipt.
  • PACE Code B: deals with police powers to search premises and to seize and retain property found on premises and persons.
  • PACE Code C: sets out the requirements for the detention, treatment and questioning of people in police custody by police officers.
  • PACE Code D: concerns the main methods used by the police to identify people in connection with the investigation of offences and the keeping of accurate and reliable criminal records.
  • PACE Code E: deals with the tape recording of interviews with suspects in the police station.
  • PACE Code F: deals with the visual recording with sound of interviews with suspects.

On 1 January 2006 an additional code came into force:
  • PACE Code G: deals with statutory powers of arrest.

On 24 July 2006 a further code came into force:
  • PACE Code H: deals with the detention of terrorism suspects.

Case law

Since the passage of PACE, the courts have recognised the greater safeguards of civil liberties granted by the act.

In Osman v Southwark Crown Court (1999) , the search of Osman was held to be unlawful because the officers searching him did not give their names and station, contrary to PACE's requirements.

In O'Loughlin v Chief Constable of Essex (1997), the courts held that the entry of a premises under section 17 PACE to arrest O'Loughlin's wife for criminal damage was unlawful because under PACE, anyone present on the premises must be given the reason for entry.

However, not all cases have gone against the police; in R v Longman (1988), it was held that the police entry of a premises to execute a search warrant for drugs
Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows are an American post-hardcore band formed in 2010. They released their debut self-titled album on February 22, 2011.- Formation :...

was lawful, although deception had been utilised to gain entry, and upon entering, the police had not identified themselves or shown the warrant.

External links

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