A Custody Officer is an attested constable of at least the rank of Sergeant in the United Kingdom who works in a custody suite. They are responsible for the care and welfare of arrested persons who are brought to the custody suite.
England and Wales
In England and Wales, the custody officer must make a decision to authorise or refuse the detention of any detainee presented before him. This also applies detainees presented before them by other public servants with power of arrest who may use the suite from time to time, for example Revenue & Customs officers and Immigration officers. The officer presents the arrested person to the custody officer and explains the circumstances of the arrest, with further detention of the person being authorised if the custody officer deems it necessary to do so. It is not the custody officer's duty to determine whether the arrest was lawful or not, Code G of PACE states that this duty rests on the arresting officer.
The custody officer must ensure that during the whole time the person is detained at the custody suite, police officers and police staff who deal with the detained person adhere to the PACE Codes of Practice regarding the rights and treatment of persons arrested.
These Codes of Practice include various requirements regarding time limits and record keeping for certain procedures that may take place whilst the person is in custody and the custody officer is responsible for ensuring these too.
The custody officer does not have to authorise detention in Scotland in the same way as in England and Wales. A person who has been detained or arrested is taken to a police station and the person is booked into custody, often by a member of police staff or a Police Constable. Also, as the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 does not apply in Scotland, the care of people in custody is governed by different (but very similar) guidance.
- North Yorkshire Police: Administration of Justice - Custody Suite Archived June 8, 2007, at the Wayback Machine