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Criminal Procedure & Investigations Act 1996 Code of Practice

The Criminal Procedure and Investigations Code of Practice applies in respect of criminal investigations conducted by police. A criminal investigation can be defined an investigation conducted by police officers with a view to it being ascertained whether a person should be charged with an offence, or whether a person charged with an offence is guilty of it. 

This document sets out the manner in which police officers are to record, retain and reveal to the prosecutor material obtained in a criminal investigation.

The roles and responsibilities within a criminal investigation can vary. The functions of the investigator, the officer in charge of an investigation and the disclosure officer are separate. The amount of persons attached to this case to fulfil the above roles will depend on the complexity of the case and the administrative arrangements within each police force. Commonly, where there are more than one person undertaking the roles, close consultation between them is essential to the effective performance of the duties imposed by this code. 

Persons other than police officers who are charged with the duty of conducting an investigation as defined in the Act are to have regard to the relevant provisions of the code, and should take these into account in applying their own operating procedures. 

Published 01/01/2015
Authoring body: Ministry of Justice (MoJ)
Data Protection

On the 25th May 2018 the Data Protection Act 2018 was implemented by the UK as the General Data Protection Regulation also known as GDPR. It controls how personal information is captured and used by organisations and the government.

Everyone responsible for using personal data has to follow strict rules called ‘data protection principles’ and must ensure that the information they obtain is for a lawful purpose, used fairly and must be transparent about its intended purpose of usage and used explicitly for that purpose only.

Data should also not be kept for more than is necessary, and whilst it is kept, should be kept up to date and handled and secured in a way that does not compromise its protection from unauthorised processing, loss of theft of data.  

It is important to note that there is stronger legal protection for more sensitive information such as race, health, sex life, orientation, ethnic background. There are separate safeguards for personal data relating to criminal convictions and offences.

Under the Data Protection Act 2018, an individual has the right to find out what information the government and other organisations holds about them and this ideally should be provided to the individual within 1 month.  

To make a complaint about the misuse of personal information or lack of security it should be made to the organisation, following their response the complaint can also be made to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Telephone: 0303 123 1113

Published 01/01/2018
Authoring body: Information Commissioner's Office (ICO)
ACPO Good Practice Guide for Digital Evidence (Version 5)

This ACPO guide contains a set of golden principles for management of digital evidence and guidance on each stage in the evidence lifecycle: Plan, Capture, Analyse and Present. This guide represents good practice across a broad digital forensic landscape for policing.

Although dated, this guide has been reviewed in March 2021 by the National Standards Assurance Board and deemed current and relevant.

Published 01/03/2012
Authoring body: Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO)
10 Steps to Cyber Security

This guidance is designed to help organisations protect themselves in cyberspace and best practises for cyberspace security. It relays the task of defending your networks, systems and information into its essential components.

It is important to note, when dealing cyberspace protection, the organisation knows the kinds of cyber attacks it expects to understand what protection would be needed.

Published 01/01/2018
Authoring body: National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC)
End user device (EUD) Security Guidance Windows 10 1809

This guidance covers the deployment of a range of end user device platforms for the secure configuration of Windows 10 1809. Risk owners and administrators should agree a configuration which balances business requirements, usability and security.

  • Protective Monitoring Solution: All data should be routed over a secure enterprise VPN to ensure the confidentiality and integrity of the traffic. This also allows the devices, and data on them, to be protected.

  • Applications should be authorised by an administrator and deployed via a trusted mechanism.

  • Most users should have accounts with no administrative privileges.  Administrator accounts should have a unique strong password per device.

Testing was performed on a Windows Hardware Certified device, running Windows 10 Enterprise. This guidance is not applicable to Windows devices managed via an MDM or Windows To Go. 

This guidance is not applicable to Windows devices managed via an MDM or Windows To Go. 

Risk owners and administrators should agree a configuration, which balances business requirements, usability and security.

Published 01/01/2020
Authoring body: National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC)
Application Development

This guidance gives practical advice on the secure development, procurement and deployment of generic applications.

There are three types of common security issues:

  1. Secure data handling

  2. Application hardening

  3. Third party applications

This guidance is written main for risk assessors and application developers on how to minimise the loss of data from applications running on all devices handling sensitive data. Sensitive information should not be stored on devices when it's not required. If it must be stored on a device, a native data storage protection APIs (Application Programming Interface) available on the platform must be utilised. You must also ensure that the applications allows administrators to delete sensitive data from devices if they are compromised or lost and encrypt sensitive information when stored, protected by an authentication mechanism.

You must also securely implement cryptographic functions and store sensitive information securely, and hide it from the user until they have been authenticated and ensure that sessions timeout periodically and require the user or application to repeat the authentication process and where possible manage user accounts centrally.

Published 01/01/2018
Authoring body: National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC)
Government Network Policy Changes

The Public Services Network (PSN) provides technical policies regarding the operation of its network. This provides a high-level guidance for the way in which government networks, as a whole should be managed.

The policies aim to create a simple mechanism for managing network services in government. The objectives of the policies are to:

  • operate the PSN as a single OFFICIAL network enabling services to be consumed from both the Assured and Protected networks.

  • enable the use of cloud email services that meet specific security standards for government email.

  • bring PSN and other government Domain Name System (DNS) services into line with best practice.  

Email feedback to 

Published 13/03/2017
Authoring body: Government Digital Services (GDS)
Post-Incident Procedures following Death or Serious Injury APP

There are incidents that take place where the police respond to a serious injury/incident or where there is a deceased or where at a later time the victim dies. This APP – describes the post-incident procedures, management, welfare and legal issues stemming from serious incidents.

The guidance outlines provision of accounts by officers and staff, provides responsibilities for key roles, and sets out approaches to organisational learning and debriefing. The information provided is relevant to any investigation, whether carried out by the force’s professional standards department (PSD) or by the relevant independent investigative authority (IIA).

It is the responsibility of each force to determine how the post-incident procedures will be implemented and should therefore create an implementation plan showing how each area, roles and responsibilities will be fulfilled. This should include any training plans needed for individuals carrying out specific roles.

Where serious injury or death has resulted in the discharge of a firearm by a police officer or member of police staff, this guidance will not apply. Please refer to APP Armed Policing.

It is important to note that a serious injury is referred to as a fracture, deep cut, deep laceration or injury causing damage to an internal organ or the impairment of any bodily function.

Published 01/01/2020
Authoring body: College of Policing (CoP)
Management of Police Information (MoPI) APP

This Authorised Professional Practice (APP) provides guidance to forces on meeting the requirements of the Management of Police Information (MoPI) Code of Practice in relation to the review, retention and disposal of policing information and records. This APP is supplemented by the Manual of Guidance, which provides a further level of operational data.

Police information refers to all information obtained, recorded or processed for a policing purpose. The Management of Police Information (MoPI) authorised professional practice (APP) provides a framework and guidelines for managing police information, complying with the law and managing risk associated with police information including data retention.

  • Policing information is information held for a policing purpose. The MoPI Code of Practice definition of ‘policing purpose’ is:
    • protecting life and property
    • preserving order
    • preventing the commission of offences
    • bringing offenders to justice
    • any duty or responsibility of the police arising from common or statute law
  • Corporate information includes other organisational information, such as HR or finance records, minutes of meetings, policies and procedures.

There is further information on compliance with the Freedom of Information Act.

It should also be noted that the retention periods for biometric data are governed by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 and sit outside this APP.

Published 06/05/2020
Authoring body: College of Policing (CoP)
Major Investigation and Public Protection APP

The success of any major incident coordination requires an organised, professional and methodical approach. The Major Room Incident (MIR) is critical to this coordination as this is where all information is gathered and analysed for response coordination.

Major investigation and public protection has many strands and arms. It consists of:

Major Crime:

  • Child abuse

  • Child sexual exploitation

  • Domestic abuse

  • Female genital mutilation

  • Firearms licensing

  • Forced marriage and honour-based violence

  • Gangs and youth violence

  • Gun crime

  • Hate crime

  • Homicide

  • Kidnap and extortion

  • Knife crime

  • Missing persons

  • Modern slavery

  • Prostitution

  • Rape and sexual offences

  • Stalking or harassment

  • Vulnerable adults

  • Operation Hydrant

Public protection:

  • Mental health

  • Managing sexual offenders

It also has major elements of mental health. The Mental health Authorised Professional Practice (APP) has provided guidance on Police response to members of the public who are experiencing mental ill health, have learning disabilities and mental and emotional vulnerable individuals. The guidance applies whether the police are acting in a criminal justice or health care capacity or in both of these roles. 

Published 01/01/2020
Authoring body: College of Policing (CoP)