Articles on: PSRAS - Police Station Representative Accreditation Scheme

PSRAS Portfolio - A Guide

The Portfolio will contain detailed studies of nine 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
- Encourage your supervising solicitor to review your competence and to take steps to address any deficiencies

The Portfolio consists of three stages, to be completed in two parts in the following chronological order:

Part A Stage One - Two cases in which you have observed your supervising solicitor provide advice to a client in a police station.
Part A Stage Two - Two cases in which you have provided advice to a client in a police station whilst being observed by your supervising solicitor.
Part B - Five cases in which you have provided advice to a client in a police station unsupervised.

Part A (four cases) can be submitted at any time for a technical compliance check. The cases must be within three months of the date of submission. Following submission, an application is made to the Legal Aid Agency for a probationary PIN number.

When probationary status is received, candidates may undertake Part B of the Portfolio and the Critical Incidents Test. The probationary period is 12 months. Candidates have 6 months to pass either the Portfolio or CIT, failing this the PIN number is suspended until one assessment has been passed. The candidate then has a further 6 months to pass the outstanding element.

Part B (all nine cases) must be submitted within 12 months of the first case. There is a submission deadline each month; for the dates please download our timetable.


All probationary and accredited representatives must have a recognised Supervising Solicitor at all times.

For Part A of the Portfolio, you will be required to attend at the police station with a supervising solicitor. Signed, written feedback is required from the solicitor for stage 2 of Part A. Feedback sessions should also take place for Part B cases, although it is not mandatory to include these in the Portfolio submission.

It is the responsibility of the representative and the Supervising Solicitor to monitor the progress of the accreditation and successfully passing the assessments within the required timeframes.

The supervisor must be a current police station duty solicitor or, failing which, a solicitor who is acceptable to the Commission as meeting the Crime Category Supervisor Standard (including on a temporary basis) but not the Prison Law Supervisor Standard or the Criminal Cases Review Commission Supervisor Standard, and who must not have been suspended from supervising solicitor status under the General Criminal Contract. Please look at the firm's contract for further information.

Case Selection

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

Part A Stage One cases may be duty referred and indictable matters, as these are dealt with by the Supervising Solicitor.

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 example:

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.

Supervisors can greatly assist candidates by pointing out all relevant procedural and
contractual requirements to the candidate as part of the training element of this process.

Updated on: 01/09/2023

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