Coronavirus (COVID-19) interview protocol

We've 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 help investigators and prosecutors decide whether suspects should be interviewed as part of a police investigation during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The latest version of the protocol applies from 4 October 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.

The guidance was first published on 1 April 2020 and is intended for use only during the coronavirus crisis. It is reviewed regularly.

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.  

Children and vulnerable adults

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.

Compliance with PPE requirements and remote advice if COVID positive

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:

  • the need to ensure compliance with the personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements, as set out in national NPCC guidance, and
  • the signatories' agreement that where a detainee is confirmed as being COVID positive, or strongly believed to be COVID positive, then the use of remote legal advice remains available for these detainees under the interim protocol

Using PPE

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.)

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