The Police and Criminal Evidence Act (or PACE)

Picture of the Scales of JusticePACE was introduced as a result of Lord Scarman's enquiry following the murder of PC Keith Blakelock at Broad Water Farm. The murder convictions were quashed at appeal, because it was suggested that the police had obtained the confessions from Winston Silcott, Mark Braithwaite and Engin Raghip under duress, whilst they were in custody.

PACE has two parts: an Act of Parliament, which runs to some 276 pages, and a series of Codes of Practice A-E that are another 185 pages.

As PACE was introduced to define a citizens rights whilst in custody etc., this may explain why there is no legal requirement to caution a driver who is stopped for an alleged speeding offence. Motorists are not taken into custody for speeding and, as speeding is an 'absolute offence', the officer will have obtained the required evidence before he stops the 'offending vehicle'. Therefore, why would a police officer need to record anything that is said in mitigation etc.?

This may also explain why motorists stopped for drink driving are cautioned because, if they provide a positive breath test, they will be arrested and taken into custody. However, like in the case of a speeding offence, why would the police need to record what a citizen had to say? The officer will already have obtained the evidence, that is required to secure a conviction, from the positive breath test.

There is an ongoing debate with regard to PACE and many police officers and solicitors maintain that PACE does in fact apply to summary offences.

If you have any comments with regard to PACE, and it's applicability to summary offences, please let us know. For the above reasons we strongly recommend that you understand your rights in case you are stopped for an alleged speeding offence, because not everyone will be as fortunate as this citizen!

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