New pre-sentence report…
The 'pre-sentence report before plea' protocol now applies to all magistrates' courts in England and Wales.
We have worked with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) and other practitioner associations on a coronavirus (COVID-19) interview protocol.
This guidance is intended to assist investigators and prosecutors in deciding whether suspects should be interviewed as part of a police investigation during the coronavirus pandemic.
It was first published on 1 April 2020 and is intended for use only during the coronavirus crisis. It is reviewed regularly.
The protocol allows for remote legal advice to be provided to suspects with their consent.
From 17 May 2021 (in line with stage 3 of the government’s roadmap for reducing COVID-19 restrictions), the protocol no longer applies in cases involving suspects who are children or vulnerable adults requiring an appropriate adult.
The signatories continue to review the need for the protocol. We’re mindful of the fact that withdrawing the protocol can only be achieved and maintained while prevailing COVID conditions are safe to do so.
In August 2021, a new version of the protocol will be published.
This version applies from September 2021.
While still allowing the use of remote legal advice in certain, limited circumstances – including where the suspect is, or is believed to be, COVID-19 positive, or where the suspect’s named solicitor is self-isolating – it envisages a return to in-person attendances at police stations in most cases.
It also reinforces the need for the police to ensure custody suites are safe environments.
On 7 June, we and other protocol signatories met with deputy chief constable (DCC) Nev Kemp, the NPPC lead for custody.
Following this meeting, DCC Kemp wrote to the heads of custody and chief officers of all forces to remind them of:
If you're visiting police stations or custody facilities, the NPCC has shared interactive guidance (PDF 3 MB) on using PPE.
The 'custody' section includes advice for legal representatives visiting detainees or custody facilities.
(If you're having trouble viewing the interactive PowerPoint on Windows 7, please try another operating system.)