Police and Criminal Evidence Act
This chapter introduces the framework of police powers and safeguards in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, commonly referred to a PACE, and its various Codes of Practice.1 The Act was passed following the Royal Commission on Criminal Procedure 19812 and sought to balance two potentially competing interests. On the one hand, police powers were significantly expanded to meet a perceived need to ensure the police had the legal tools at their disposal to conduct effective investigations. On the other hand, suspects’ rights and interests were addressed by enhanced safeguards and procedural entitlements. This included clearly defined limits on periods of detention, oversight and approval by senior officers, and access to legal advice or other support during detention. As will be seen, provision was made for detainees with a suspected mental disorder or other vulnerability.