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Police Interrogation: Speech Impaired

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 29 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what instructions are issued on the procedure and protocol which a police officer must follow in (a) questioning and (b) physically taking hold of a person with a speech impediment observed to be under the influence of neither drugs nor alcohol, when the officer cannot understand what the suspect is saying. (201355)

[holding answer 24 April 2008]: The Code of Practice for the detention, treatment and questioning of persons by police officers (Code C) issued under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) 1984, provides that if a person appears to be blind, seriously visually impaired, deaf, unable to read or speak or has difficulty orally because of a speech impediment they shall be treated as such while in police detention. A person with speech difficulties must not be interviewed in the absence of an interpreter unless they agree in writing to being interviewed without one. Where there is doubt about the speaking ability of a parent or guardian attending as an appropriate adult, an interpreter should also be called unless they agree in writing to the interview being proceeding without one.