Articles on: PSQ - Police Station Qualification

PSQ Portfolio - A Guide

The PSQ applies to anyone who is a qualified solicitor with a practising certificate or a qualified barrister, who gives advice in the police station for which payment is not initially claimed from the Legal Aid Agency (LAA).

The Portfolio will contain summaries of five cases in which you have been involved with both the giving of advice, and attendance at an interview between the police and the client, at a police station.

On registration, you will be issued with a copy of our regulations which will provide detailed guidance on the format, content and assessment criteria.

The purpose of the Portfolio is to:
- Enable us to assess your competence to give advice in police stations
- Encourage you to consider and reflect upon your performance in the police station

The Portfolio must be submitted within 12 months of the first case. There is a submission deadline each month; for the dates please download our timetable.

Upon successful completion of the Portfolio, an application is made to the LAA for a PIN number.

Case Selection

Non-accredited representatives are only permitted to advise on own client cases with summary or either way offences.

All cases must include an interview where the suspect is questioned by a Constable.

A case involving co-defendants can only be included as one case study.

The Portfolio should contain a good range of issues and offences which demonstrate to the Assessor your all round competence as a police station representative.

Portfolio Advice from the Assessment Board

Below is some general Portfolio advice from Datalaw’s Board of Assessors on issues that can cause candidates to fail.

Arrest and Detention

An arrest always involves the deprivation of a suspect’s liberty, which is a serious imposition

on their right to liberty. Candidates should ensure that in any reported case where their client has been arrested that they record and have tested:

The reasons for their client’s arrest as tested against section 24 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and Code G in terms of both reasonable suspicion and necessity;
The reasons for their client’s detention tested against section 37 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.

Candidates are expected to demonstrate an understanding of the grounds that must apply
before an arrest can take place and what must be recorded by the arresting officer to justify
that arrest. Where there are no proper grounds or inadequate recording of the reasons for
arrest that assessors expect to see, that the candidate recognised the extent of those failings
and took steps to challenge that arrest.

The assessors have similar expectations in respect of detention.

Contact with Clients and Delay

The General Criminal Contract requires contact to be made with a detained suspect within 45
minutes of notification being received from the DSCC. Such initial contact will usually be
made by telephone. Increasing numbers of case studies fail to record that any attempt to
provide initial telephone advice was made and in a high proportion of such cases it is simply
recorded that the suspect was on rest and that arrangements were made to contact the
police when they were ready.

The assessors expect that candidates will be able to state the rules that apply to the provision
of legal advice during a period of rest and the effect that such provision will have on the
period of rest that is provided. The assessors also expect that candidates will retain control
over their cases so as to avoid the possibility of unnecessary delay being caused by police inactivity during a period of rest.

Any delay in dealing with the client should be properly explained by the candidate, for

Why was there a delay in the suspect arriving at the police station after his arrest? Any delay should
be explained.
If a suspect was transferred from one police area to another what effect does that have of the custody clock?
If a suspect was transferred to hospital during his detention what effect does that have on the custody clock?
Why was it necessary to place a suspect on a period of arrest - the fact that he was arrested at an anti-social hour is not in itself a reason to place a suspect on a period of arrest.

Inferring Knowledge

The assessor’s task is to determine whether the candidate has sufficient knowledge and competence to pass the assessment process. They are not permitted to infer that the candidate possesses an understanding of matters raised within their case study that is not recorded within it.

The Golden Rule

If a candidate wishes to pass this part of the assessment process the golden rule is for the
candidate to ask themselves whether or not their case study raises an issue they have not
dealt with and if so, to deal with it in the body of the case study.

Updated on: 01/09/2023

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