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Storage of Belongings in Custody (1158A/20)

Request

A copy of any procedure used by West Midlands Police relating to seizure and storage of detainees items whilst in custody.

Response

Please find our response below in relation to the process of a detainee’s belongings whilst in police custody and the process once belongings have been seized under PACE, entered into our detained property system and retained whilst the person is detained in HMP.

 

Items retained whilst the detainee is in police custody:

PACE (Code C – Section 4)

4 Detainee’s property

(A) Action

4.1 The custody officer is responsible for:

(a) ascertaining what property a detainee:

(i) has with them when they come to the police station, whether on:

  • arrest or re-detention on answering to bail;
  • commitment to prison custody on the order or sentence of a court;
  • lodgement at the police station with a view to their production in court from

prison custody;

  • transfer from detention at another station or hospital;
  • detention under the Mental Health Act 1983, section 135 or 136;
  • remand into police custody on the authority of a court.

(ii) might have acquired for an unlawful or harmful purpose while in custody;

(b) the safekeeping of any property taken from a detainee which remains at the police

station.

The custody officer may search the detainee or authorise their being searched to the extent

they consider necessary, provided a search of intimate parts of the body or involving the

removal of more than outer clothing is only made as in Annex A. A search may only be

carried out by an officer of the same sex as the detainee. See Note 4A and Annex L.

4.2 Subject to paragraph 4.3A, detainees may retain clothing and personal effects at their own

risk unless the custody officer considers they may use them to cause harm to themselves

or others, interfere with evidence, damage property, effect an escape or they are needed as

evidence. In this event the custody officer may withhold such articles as they consider

necessary and must tell the detainee why.

4.3 Personal effects are those items a detainee may lawfully need, use or refer to while in

detention but do not include cash and other items of value.

4.3A For the purposes of paragraph 4.2, the reference to clothing and personal effects shall be

treated as including menstrual and any other health, hygiene and welfare products needed

such products must be subject to a further specific risk assessment.

 

(B) Documentation

4.4 It is a matter for the custody officer to determine whether a record should be made of the

property a detained person has with him or had taken from him on arrest. Any record made

is not required to be kept as part of the custody record but the custody record should be

noted as to where such a record exists and that record shall be treated as being part of the

custody record for the purpose of this and any other Code of Practice (see paragraphs 2.4,

2.4A and 2.5). Whenever a record is made the detainee shall be allowed to check and sign

the record of property as correct. Any refusal to sign shall be recorded.

4.5 If a detainee is not allowed to keep any article of clothing or personal effects, the reason

must be recorded.

 

Items stored and entered into the detained property system:

Items seized under PACE (Code B – Section 7) and retained under CPIA (Section 5)

5.9 Where the accused is convicted, all material which may be relevant must be retained at least until:

  • the convicted person is released from custody, or discharged from hospital, in cases where the court imposes a custodial sentence or a hospital order;
  • six months from the date of conviction, in all other cases.

If the court imposes a custodial sentence or hospital order and the convicted person is released from custody or discharged from hospital earlier than six months from the date of conviction, all material which may be relevant must be retained at least until six months from the date of conviction

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