PACE and its Codes of Practice have not been amended during the Covid-19 pandemic. Police officers are required to secure the involvement of an AA for the same processes and procedures as prior to the pandemic. This includes the need to secure the attendance of an AA (as opposed to a remote / live link) for several procedures, including interviews.
- Please see NAAN's guidance on the levels of AA involvement required to achieve PACE compliance.
AA schemes have continued to attend police custody throughout Covid-19 pandemic. This is in line with NAAN guidance, which states that AAs should contine to attend custody, subject to:
- The detention being necessary
- Suitable PPE being available in line with the NPCC PPE guidance
- The custody suite is being run in line with national health and safety / PPE guidance.
The JIIP was orginally agreed in March 2020 between the Crown Prosecution Service, National Police Chiefs' Council, The Law Society, Criminal Law Solicitors’ Association and London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association.
It 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 also encourages the use of remote advice for suspects. However, from 17 May 2021 the protocol (version 3) no longer applies in cases where an AA is required (all children and vulnerable people).
NAAN has advised all AA schemes to support the implementation of the JIIP v3. This means that AAs should not attend interviews in which legal representation is to be provided remotely. AAs should continue to attend police custody to support other procedures conducted in line with PACE (e.g. rights and entitlements). As normal, police should request an AA as soon as is practicable following the authorisation of detention, and AAs should attend as soon as possible on request as per the National Standards.
- Please see our detailed coronavirus guidance for AA scheme coordinators and AA practitioners (NAAN membership required).
AAs from organised schemes are continuing to attend police custody for people known or suspected to have Covid-19, subject
Since the publication of JIIP v3, the NPCC has sent a further letter to police forces, on behalf of the signatories, indicating that legal advisors should continue to be able to provide remote legal representation in interview where a child or vulnerable adult is known "strongly believed" or to have Covid-19. However, after careful consideration, NAAN maintains the guidance that AAs should not attend any interview in which legal representation is to be provided remotely. While NAAN appreciates that this does not relieve the police's operational challenges caused by legal advisors refusing to attend custody, AA attendance cannot replace the attendance of a legal advisor. Custody is either safe for all or for none. The letter's position is not consistent either with the national PPE guidance, JIIP v3 or the PACE Codes.
- Please see our position statement on AA non-attendance at interviews with remote legal representation (from May 17th 2021).