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Updates to PACE Codes of Practice (C, D and H)

New versions of PACE Codes C, D and H were published on 23 February 2017. A number of the updates to the Codes are specifically applicable to children and bring into line the Code’s with the previous amendment to PACE made by the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 that defines a “juvenile” for the purpose of detention under PACE as someone under the age of 18, rather than under the age of 17.


A number of changes to Code C relate specifically to children. They are as follows:

Appropriate adults

The definition of persons who cannot act as appropriate adults is extended to police support volunteers and detention or escort officers employed by a contractor (C.1.7(a)(iii), (b)(ii) and Note 1F).

An appropriate adult can be removed from an interview ‘if their conduct is such that the interviewer is unable properly to put questions to the suspect’ (C.11.17A).

17-year olds now treated as juveniles

Anyone who appears to be under 18, shall, in the absence of clear evidence that they are older, be treated as a juvenile. This amendment reflects the statutory definition of ‘arrested juvenile’ in section 37(15) of PACE. This section was amended by section 42 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 with effect from 26 October 2015, and includes anyone who appears to be under the age of 18. This definition applies for the purposes of the detention and bail provisions in sections 34 to 51 of PACE (C.1.5 and Note 1L).

Juveniles kept overnight in police cells

The Juvenile Detention Certificate given to the court in accordance with PACE s.38(7) must show why the juvenile was kept in the police station and their case must be monitored and supervised by an officer of inspector rank or above. (C.16.7)

The changes to Code C are repeated in Code H.

The updated Codes can be accessed here.


These changes to PACE Codes C and H reflect a growing recognition that any person under 18 is a child and should be afforded the special protections available to children under the law.