Coronavirus (COVID-19) interview protocol
This guidance aims to help investigators and prosecutors decide whether suspects should be interviewed in person or remotely as part of police investigations during the coronavirus pandemic.
The latest version of the protocol (JIIP 5) applies from 3 January 2023.
The guidance was first published on 1 April 2020 and is intended for use only during the coronavirus crisis.
We do not expect changes to this version of the protocol for some time, unless a significant issue arises, such as another pandemic.
We, and the other signatories to the protocol, have written a joint letter to ministers suggesting that the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 should be amended to provide a statutory basis for giving remote legal advice in exceptional circumstances in future.
Children and vulnerable adults
The latest protocol includes extra protection for:
- vulnerable adults, and
- people who may be remanded in custody
In these cases, even if an exemption applies, in-person advice will be the default position with suitable PPE being supplied if applicable.
The circumstances where remote legal advice should be given will be exceptional and its use will be infrequent while this JIIP5 is in existence.
Remote legal advice
Under the current protocol, remote legal advice should be given only in exceptional circumstances, and should be used infrequently.
Under the exemptions, remote advice may be given where:
- the suspect is, or is believed to be, COVID-19 positive
- the suspect’s named solicitor is self-isolating, and there are health and safety concerns in relation to the police custody suite
- the custody officer believes – in consultation with all relevant parties – that it would not be practical, possible or desirable for a legal adviser to attend in person safely, due to exceptional reasons in an individual case
If you're visiting police stations or custody facilities, the NPCC has shared interactive guidance (PDF 3.8 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.)