This is an old revision of the document!
Becoming a police station rep is not difficult and nearly anyone can do it. Its a great job and an important part of the criminal defence procedure. If you want to learn about how to become a rep do please read the whole page. If you have any questions feel free to get in touch.
The Process • 10 Steps to becoming a Police Station Rep • What is a Police Station Rep • How to become a Police Station Rep • Finding a Supervising Solicitor • How to keep up to date with criminal law • Books worth reading • Core Knowledge • The process in detail • I have a criminal record - can I become a rep? • Queries & Questions
Exam Guidance • Portfolio Guide • Portfolio Tips • Critical Incidents Guide • Critical Incidents Tips • Written Exam Guide • Cardiff Uni Guidance • Sample Papers • Queries & Questions
Read this page and all the document in the links. Get to know the business, the rules and the requirements before you do anything else. The job of a rep is not for everyone and you need to understand what it entails before you go any further.
Find a Supervising Solicitor. Without a doubt finding a supervising solicitor is the toughest part of all especially if you are not a policeman or a lawyer.
Make contact with a few reps in your area. We are a friendly bunch generally. Go out on a few attendances with other reps. We all have our own styles and you'll need to find yours. Watching someone else in action is perhaps the best introduction to the job.
Register with an Assessment Organisation, complete Part A of the Portfolio and pass the written exam. Apply to the Police Station Reps Service (PSRS) to become a Probationary Representative and get your unique PIN number.
As a Probationary Rep you can work for 12 months at police stations, on a limited basis, without direct supervision.
Before the end of that 12 months you need to successfully complete and pass the Critical Incidents Test and Part B of the Portfolio. If you fail to pass, the Criminal Defence Service will suspend you, and your firm will not be paid for work you perform at the police station. You will have to go back to the beginning and start again.
Once you have done all of that you are a Police Station Representative! Its not hard but you do need to be organised.
Once you are up and running you need to keep abreast of the law and you need to collect at least 6 CPD points a year.
If you are confident and capable you may well decide to go freelance. If you do you are then very welcome to register on this site! Best of luck.
Being a Police station representative is perhaps the best job in the world. Admittedly, we are somewhat biased. All the people involved in running this web site are themselves qualified and practicing Police Station Representatives!
The job involves: Giving legal advice to suspects under arrest in police stations.
Flexibility is a must. Policing is a 24 hour a day business, 365 days of the year. Police Station Representatives therefore often work very unsocial hours. We work at any time of the day and night. As an employee of a firm of solicitors you may have very little choice in the hours you work but as an independent echo representative you can pretty much choose your own hours.
We are experts in criminal law providing advice to suspects in a clear and unambiguous way. Criminals are not always law echo graduates so we use language that our client's can understand.
We examine the significance of a client's version of events and give legal advice.
Analytical skills are a prerequisite.
An interest in criminal law is a must.
Good listening skills are essential along with an ability to communicate with people at all levels. The police arrest everyone in society from children to those with severe mental health issues. It is essential that Police station representatives can communicate with anyone.
Salaries for this type of work were generally pretty high but have been slipping year after year. As an independent rep you could earn anything from £20K to £30K depending on how much work you are prepared to take on. But in house you could be on minimum wage. Solicitors are not the most generous of employers and the hours can be punishing as the police interview 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Anyone can apply to become accredited as a Police Station Representative, with the following exceptions: Serving police officers
Special constables and
Individuals employed in any capacity that may cause a conflict of interest when undertaking Criminal Defence Service work In order to qualify you will need to find a firm of solicitors to sponsor and supervise you. The Law Society publishes a list of all the firms in England and Wales on their website at www.lawsociety.org.uk. You will need to apply to one of these firms.
If you find a job the firm will then be able to help you through the qualification process. Naturally, finding a firm to supervise you is not all that easy as solicitors are facing a real downturn at present. But they will always need people to attend police stations.
Once over that hurdle you will need to take a few courses and a few exams. Nothing too hard but you need to demonstrate that you know what you are doing.
Training to be a police station representative involves fewer exams than you might expect. You do not need a law degree and you do not have to be a qualified lawyer. But qualified solicitors and barristers are exempt from some of the exams.
Before you can work in the industry you must pass the Police Station Representative Accreditation Scheme. It is not hugely expensive and any decent firm of solicitors will stump up the fees and provide training in-house. It typically takes between 6 and 12 months to obtain accreditation.
Standards of Competence This document contains an outline of the core information you will need to know. It is a guide to the under pining knowledge, skills and performance expected of reps. Portfolio Assesment Guidelines The portfolio can be a bit daunting but your supervising solicitor will be able to help. This assesmnet guideline is very useful too. Cardiff Guidance Notes This is a useful guide from Cardiff who are one of the providers for course and exams.
Only two organisations are offering the police station accreditation. The contact details are further down the page: Cardiff and Datalaw
If you like some help or guidance please feel free to contact us. We try to answer all emails reasonably quickly.
FINDING A SUPERVISOR:
Finding a solicitor to supervise your accreditation can be rather difficult. The only advice we can give you is to call, visit and write to local criminal firms. They are always on the look out for good candidates to act as police station reps.
You may be tempted to start the training process without a Supervising Solicitor. Our advice is simple: don't do it! We think you should find a Supervising Solicitor first. There is little point shelling out your own money to do a vocational course that will not lead to an income. Once you have a Supervising Solicitor then you know that the courses are worth pursuing.
Traditionally the job has been done by former police officers and by lawyers. Both, of course, have contacts with instructing and supervising solicitors. So, it can be a bit tougher for those who are outside the Criminal Justice System. But perseverance is the key. Realistically its a case of badgering the firms until one of them takes you on.
In our view you should avoid any firm that asks you to pay for the training and exams youself. The firms will make a good deal of money training you up so there is no excuse for that sort of exploitation.You can find local firms of solicitors on the law society web site or there is a list of criminal firms below. The list is pretty old now but may well help you get started. It includes the firms name, address telephone number, DX number and e-mail address.
HOW TO KEEP UP TO DATE:
Keeping Up to Date does not need to be a chore. Criminal Law is a living, breathing and constantly developing area. It is essential for all police station representatives to keep up to date with the law. One of the best ways to keep up to date is to subscribe to the e-mail updates provided CrimeLine. The emails are written by Andrew Keogh. He now has over 12,000 subscribers including criminal lawyers, judges and academics. Each issue provides legal updates including the latest cases, legislation and news. Best of all its FREE!Click here to sign up or point your browser at www.wikicrimeline.co.uk.
Legal books are not cheap but they are indispensable. Here we try to evaluate the good the bad and the unnecessary. You don't have to read any of them but the more you read the better a rep you will be.
When it comes to buying legal books keep an eye out on the second hand market. Both Amazon and eBay often feature used books. Students and people who fail the accreditation scheme will often dump unwanted books onto the market. But beware! Always check the publishing date. An out of date book can be downright dangerous. Law is a developing field and keeping up to date is essential.
A brand new copy of Ed Cape's bible commands a hefty price tag of around £50 but an old edition can be picked up for as little as a tenner. Keep an eye out at the end of every academic year as prices can drop dramatically.
The Police & Criminal Evidence Act 1984
This is so important it has its own page on this site. It is essential that you know it backwards. The Codes of Practice are well know by most reps but all of us need regular refreshers. The best reps know the Act itself inside out as well. Click here to go to our dedicated page.
Defending Suspects at Police Stations: The Practitioner's Guide to Advice and Representation by Ed Cape.
Ed Cape's tome is as close to Biblical as it gets! It would be hard to over hype this book. Without a shadow of a doubt it is the ultimate authority for police station advisors. If you do not have a copy go and get one now. Chances are though that you already have a well thumbed copy! Like a vintage car it will only slowly depreciate in value. Even second hand copies on Amazon and eBay can change hands for only a little under the RRP.
What makes it so good is Mr Cape's sheer authority on the subject. It is comprehensive and accessible, written for the practitioner not the academic.
Archbold: Criminal Pleading, Evidence and Practice
Its not cheap but worth every penny
is the serious advocate's bible. Solicitors, barristers and judges rely on it as the definitive guide to Criminal Law. This mighty tome is published annually with supplements sent to owners each month. This is a serious book with a serious price tag. New it costs £360.
But we would recommend the digital edition which comes in at a whopping 500. Second hand copies go for around 80 and are well worth a look. The book considers the elements of each offence along with relevant case law.
Banks on Sentencing by Robert Banks
This is our current favourite book. Police Reps are not usually great at predicting sentences because we are only trained to learn the maximum sentence. But clients rarely get the maximum sentence. That's where this excellent book comes in. Robert Banks has produced an exhaustively researched guide to sentencing. It is fast becoming the definitive work for determining sentences for almost all prosecuted offences.
The offences dealt with range from Smoking and Parking to Murder and Terrorism. Expect to pay over £40 for a new copy. Its so good you are unlikely to find a second hand copy in a hurry.
Nutshells Criminal Law by Paul Dobson.
Its a guilty secret but its a brilliant must have. The Nutshells series covers an amazing variety of subjects. Although this book is aimed at law students cramming for finals it is a valuable tool for all police station reps. It very cheap (new its around £8 and second hand they can be picked up for pennies). But, it is very slim and will fit into a pocket. It provides a very quick and easily digestible summary of major case law for the most common offences. Every solicitor has a copy hidden away at the bottom of his desk.
Sample Model Portfolios
The most daunting part of accreditation is the portfolio. This book contains a complete sample portfolio for the Law Society Police Station Representatives Scheme. 4 Part A cases and 5 Part B cases. All cases in the portfolio have been assessed at the competence standard for the PSRAS scheme. Andrew Keogh is an approved assessor for both police station and duty solicitor schemes and until recently was Chief Assessor for CLAS.
Sadly this one is probably no longer in print. But a hunt might turn it up in a remainder bin somewhere.
Got a favourite book you use at the police station? Contact us and we will be happy to plug it here.
CORE KNOWLEDGE: There is of course quite a bit you will need to learn. The best way to do this is to work inside a firm a firm of solicitors so that you are exposed to criminal law in all its glory and complexity. But here is the core of what you will need to understand:
Defending Clients ethical rules and principles relevant to advising and assisting a client at the police station a solicitor’s or representative’s authority to act for a person detained in the police station a solicitor’s or representative’s role and aims when acting for such a client with regard to the probing of the immigration officer’s assessment of a client’s immigration status, representations to be made to the immigration officer and the purpose of the advice to be given to the client a solicitor’s or representative’s role and aims when acting for such a client with regard to the probing of the prosecution case, representations to be made to the police and the purpose of the advice to be given to the client the effect that detention can have on a client’s behaviour in the police station and appropriate responses to typical behaviour how to identify a client’s vulnerability how to identify inappropriate behaviour by the police and when and how to respond to it the need for accurate records to be made of the information obtained from the police, the instructions obtained from the client, actions taken and advice given to the client the need to give consideration to any conflict of interests and the appropriate course of action where a conflict, or significant risk of a conflict of interests is identified. Criminal Procedure basic sequence of events in criminal cases from the client’s arrest/arrival at the police station, to conviction and sentence and the critical factors at each stage definition of an arrestable offence definition of a serious arrestable offence and the significance of an offence being so classified different ways by which crimes may be tried meaning of the terms: burden of proof, actus reus, mens rea, intentionally, recklessly, maliciously, dishonestly, knowing or believing, possession defence of self-defence modes of participation in crime of sole and joint principal and accomplice law and procedure relating to young suspects and defendants implications of the Human Rights Act 1998 for advice and assistance at the police station. Immigration Law the basis upon which a person can be detained under the Immigration Act or other similar legislation the meaning of the terms, overstayer, illegal entrant, asylum seeker, deportee, refugee, exceptional leave to remain the main Immigration Act offences the basic sequence of events in immigration cases from the client’s arrest/arrival at the police station, to interview, the decision of the immigration officer and detention/release, and the critical factors at each stage. Common Crimes assault occasioning actual bodily harm Possessing a controlled drug with intent to supply Handling stolen goods Possessing an offensive weapon Taking a motor vehicle Theft Affray Criminal damage Robbery Burglary Evidence the legal and evidential burdens of proof as they relate to prosecution and defence how facts are proved including the rule against hearsay and its exceptions the evidential consequences of a suspect remaining silent remaining selectively silent denying guilt at interviews lying making a “mixed” statement making a confession legal professional privilege the evidential value of admissions made by a co-accused the exclusion of an unreliable confession or evidence obtained unfairly (PACE s.76 and s.78). PACE 1984 the search of the client’s premises arrest, voluntary attendance at the police station and search upon arrest the duties of the custody office before and after the charge responsibilities in relation to detained persons detention, time limits of detention and reviews searches of detained persons the right to have someone informed when arrested fingerprinting the taking of intimate and other samples the right to legal advice charging bail the special treatment of juveniles and other vulnerable persons the keeping of and entitlement to see the custody record documentary evidence cautions the conduct and tape recording of interviews identification procedures.
THE PROCESS IN DETAIL:
Lets be frank, the courses are pricey but the exams are relatively easy. The process is a bit bureaucratic and there are deadlines to be met. If you are organised you can complete the whole thing in a weekend but most people take between 6 months and a year to do it. SUMMARY
Find a Supervising Solicitor.
Register with an Assessment Organisation.
Complete part A of the Portfolio and pass the written exam.
Apply to the Police Station Reps Service (PSRS) to become a Probationary Representative and get your unique PIN number.
Go to work as a Probationary Rep for 12 months. This allows you to work at police stations, on a limited basis, without direct supervision.
You must successfully complete at least one of the assessments within six months of registering as a Probationary Representative.
Within 12 months you must pass the Critical Incidents Test and Part B of the portfolio.
All assessments must be completed within 12-months.
If you fail to meet the above requirements, the Criminal Defence Service will suspend you, and your firm will not be paid for work you perform at the police station.
Once you have done all of that you are a Police Station Representative! Its not hard but you do need to be organised. First off you need to find a Supervising Solicitor. This can be a bit tricky (see above Finding a Supervising Solicitor). The application form that must be submitted to the PSRS in order to be registered as a Probationary Representative includes a Certificate of Fitness. This certificate asks the Supervising Solicitor to declare to the best of his or her knowledge that you are of suitable character to provide legal advice at police stations. Your Supervising Solicitor is your guide and mentor through the process. He is your guru there to help and advise you. Sadly, they rarely live up to expectations; be prepared to do it all on your own!
PSRS: Police Station Representative Service Selectapost 45, Sheffield S97 3FS Email: ventura
Next register with an Assessment Organisation to begin the accreditation process. The Assessment Organisations are listed below. Its your choice which you go with.
University of Wales Centre for Professional Studies, PO Box 294, Cardiff CF1 3UX tel: 02920 876 948
Datalaw 27 Dale Street, Liverpool L2 2DH tel: 0151 236 1234
Next you must jump a few hurdles before you can register with the Police Station Reps Service (PSRS) as a Probationary Representative. You need to complete both Part A of the Portfolio and the Written Examination. Part A of the portfolio has two stages:
Part A: consists of four case reports of advice provided at a police station with the direct involvement of a duty solicitor. The first two reports (Stage 1) are of instances in which you've observed the duty solicitor giving advice, and the other two (Stage 2) are of instances in which you have advised a client, under the direct supervision of a duty solicitor.
Stage 1: is nice and easy. It involves observing a solicitor giving advice to two clients at a police station. The advice in these cases can be given by any eligible solicitor and may be Duty or Own Client cases. The cases may be summary, either way, or indictable only.
Stage 2: is a bit scary as it consists of 2 cases in which a solicitor observes you giving advice in a police station. The observing solicitor must be your Supervising Solicitor. The cases must not be Duty cases or indictable only. If your Supervising Solicitor has to intervene at the police station then that case will not be valid for inclusion in stage 2.
Written Exam:: Don't panic it is not all that difficult and involves simple legal and procedural questions. The questions revolve around the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and the elements of the most common offences. The written examination assesses knowledge and understanding of basic criminal law, the law of evidence, police station procedures, the adviser's role and necessary skills.
Once you have passed the written exam and Part A of the Portfolio you have to complete an application form. This form is sent to the PSRS. They register you as a Probationary Representative and issue you with a PIN number within 14 days of receiving the fully completed form.
Following your registration as a Probationary Representative you have a couple of deadlines to meet.
Basically, you have one year to complete your portfolio and pass all the exams.
Within the first 6 months you must pass one of the remaining Accreditation Tests (Part B of the Portfolio or the Critical Incidents Test).
If you do not pass one of the tests within 6 months of registration with the PSRS, you will be suspended from the Register.
Critical Incidents Test: the oral exam. This is a live role-play test, based on audio-tapes of simulated police-station interviews. You can offer advice during set pauses in the recording. You can also choose to interrupt the interview to give advice. Your responses are recorded and subsequently assessed.
Written Examination: this exam assesses knowledge and understanding of basic criminal law, the law of evidence, police station procedures, the adviser's role and necessary skills. Barristers, members of ILEX and holders of an LPC are exempt from the written exam.
Portfolio Part A: consists of four case reports of advice provided at a police station with the direct involvement of a duty solicitor. The first two reports are of instances in which you've observed the duty solicitor giving advice, and the other two are of instances in which you have advised a client, under the direct supervision of a duty solicitor.
Portfolio Part B: must be completed before the end of your 12-month period as a probationary representative. It comprises five detailed reports of cases that you have conducted yourself at a police station.
Failure to pass all the tests within the 12 month period will result in suspension from the Register. Its down to you and your Supervising Solicitor to monitor your progress and ensure that all the tests are passed within the time frame.
OTHER STUFF WORTH KNOWING
The old refund from the LSC is no longer avaliable sadly.
Anyone can apply to become accredited as a Police Station Representative, with the following exceptions:
• Serving police officers • Special constables • Anyone in any capacity that may cause a conflict of interest.
Once qualified you are required to do the following:
• 25 police station attendances per year • 6 hours CPD training
You must advise the PSRS if:
• Employer or employer's address changes • Supervising Solicitor changes • Employed as a special constable or in any other capacity that may cause a conflict of interest • Under investigation or facing an outstanding criminal charge. • Convicted of an offence. • Subject of an investigation by the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors or the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal
Freelance Representatives: subject to the limitations in Part D of the Contract Specification, the General Criminal Contract does not restrict an Accredited Representative from undertaking work for more than one CDS supplier. We only encourage freelance reps to register on this site. Once you are qualified and working freelance please feel free to register. We help solicitors all over the UK find reps to represent their clients at the police station.
Probationary Representatives can only work for one firm. A Probationary Representative may only provide Police Station Advice assistance for the firm at which his or her supervising solicitor is based. The firm must hold a General Criminal Contract.
MORE DETAILED INFO
This is the LSC Guide to accreditation as a police station rep. It provides all the detail of the process to becoming a rep. This document is a Portfolio Guide which details what is expected in the Portfolio all reps have to submit. . The Standards of Competence is a guide to the under pining knowledge, skills and performance expected of reps. This is the Payment Annex from Oct 2011. It details how much you get paid for attending police stations.
I HAVE A CRIMINAL RECORD - CAN I STILL BECOME A REP? Having a criminal conviction is of itself not a problem. But your supervising solicitor will still have to sign you off as a fit and suitable person to be a rep. It is also possible that the Law Society or the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) will become involved and may want to interview you. In simple terms if you have commited an offence and the conviction is spent then you can in theory become a police station rep.
PORTFOLIO 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: 1. Part A Stage One - Two cases in which you have observed your supervising solicitor provide advice to a client in a police station.
2. 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.
3. Part B - Five cases in which you have provided advice to a client in a police station unsupervised. Part A Part A consists of four cases and 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 Part B is all nine cases and must be submitted within 12 months of the first case. There is a submission deadline each month; for the dates please download our timetable.
Supervision 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: 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.
Detention: The assessors have similar expectations in respect of detention.
Contact & 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. Case studies show that firms simply fail to record any attempt to provide initial telephone advice. Even when the initial call is attempted a high proportion recorded that the suspect was on rest and he was therefore not spoken to.
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.
This portfolio guide was provided by the lovely people at DataLaw, providers of accreditation and training courses.
TOP 10 PORTFOLIO TIPS You've spent months working on your Police Station Portfolio, ensuring you've included as much detail as possible, you've stated the correct law, the client's details are anonymised and you've analysed every point. But so often we receive Portfolios in the office that are not technically compliant, with missing forms, insufficient dates or sections omitted.
If a Portfolio is received on a deadline day that is not technically compliant it can't be sent for assessment, meaning that a candidate has to wait another month to submit their work and potentially lose out on further work or risk having their PIN suspended. And if it is a Part A, it may mean the cases you've attended become out of date and you have to start the process again. Nightmare.
The content of your cases is most important; this is what you are assessed on and demonstrates your competence. But many candidates forget that the Portfolio is a professional document - submitting a neat, technically compliant piece of work is also crucial.
So here's 10 handy tips to follow to ensure the hard work you've put into your Portfolio doesn't go to waste. Read the Regulations. That's it. All the info that you need is in one document. The Regulations have been (painstakingly) put together by our Accreditations Team to cover all aspects of the assessment process. Print out a copy and have it to hand when compiling your Portfolio.
Highlight what is required. There's a lot of information in the Portfolio (which is all important) but just highlight the parts you need for the Portfolio to avoid being overwhelmed!
Have your supervisor/colleague/partner check the Portfolio for you. When you've been working on something for so long, a fresh pair of eyes may spot something you've neglected.
Double check. Before parcelling the Portfolio up, just have a quick check that everything is included and a rogue form hasn't fallen down the back of your desk. (It's happened to me).
Secure your Portfolio by using treasury tags or binding. This looks neat and professional. If a Portfolio is sent as hundreds of loose pages, parts are easily lost by the Assessor (it also annoys them). Don't send your Portfolio in a ring binder, they're really heavy and will cost more in postage. They'll also break our Administrator's back taking them to the post office.
Try not to submit your Portfolio when your cases are close to expiring. If something is missing and we have to send it back, it could mean cases fall out of date and you have to start the Portfolio again. No one wants that.
Try not to submit the day before a deadline date. We get it, you don't want to rush your Portfolio and you have a lot of work on, but leaving your submission until the last minute will cause mistakes and omissions. There also won't be time to rectify these and you'll have to wait another month to submit.
Send the Portfolio recorded delivery. Special, tracked, signed for. Things do get lost in the post and we have had candidates miss deadlines because of this, which is easily avoidable and out of our hands. And if you are sending it the day before the deadline, make sure it is guaranteed for next day delivery!
Keep copies of your Portfolio cases and forms. Keep a hard copy. Keep a copy on your computer. Keep a copy on your mate's computer. Every Portfolio is returned by us. But again, these can go astray and be sat in a post room in your firm collecting dust. If you need to resubmit, you'll need a copy. So don't just rely on one of everything.
Re-read the Regulations. Honestly, everything you need is in there. But if you're unsure of anything, get in touch. Even if it seems like a silly question, we've heard them all (believe me) and we're always happy to help.
These portfolio tips were provided by the lovely people at DataLaw, providers of accreditation and training courses.
CRITICAL INCIDENTS GUIDE The purpose of Critical Incidents Test (CIT) is to assess your effectiveness in advising and assisting clients at the police station. The CIT takes the form of a role play assessment under exam conditions.
On registration, you will be issued with a copy of our regulations which will provide written guidance on the format, content and assessment criteria for the CIT.
The CIT will be assessed according to the following criteria: Content -This is concerned with the legal, procedural and factual content of your responses, including whether you have analysed the facts correctly and whether you have applied the law to those facts correctly.
Confidence - This is concerned with the extent to which you act with self-assurance in responding to the problem or issue posed.
Control - This is concerned with the extent to which you are able to demonstrate appropriate control in the context of the problem or issue raised.
In order to pass the assessment, you must achieve at least 50% on each criteria, in each scenario. The CIT can only be attempted by candidates who have been issued with and are in possession of an LAA PIN number OR those who are following the PSQ route without a PIN. There is no exemption from the CIT.
The CIT comprises of a number of scenarios which will be presented to you on an audio tape. Issues will be posed to you, either verbally or in terms of their behaviour, by police officers, your client or third parties. You will be required to respond to the scenario audibly. An audio recording will be made of your responses. You will be assessed on the appropriateness of the responses provided, your oral communication and assertiveness skills.
The format of the test will follow the normal chronological order of a police station attendance from beginning to end and so the candidate can expect the scenarios to cover some of the following points:- Initial telephone contact - either from the Defence Solicitor Call Centre, client or someone on behalf of the client.
Initial attendance at police station - dealing with Custody Sergeant, examining custody record etc. Alternatively, attending with a volunteer.
Disclosure – the Assessor is looking for your ability to obtain information that is relevant to the scenario presented.
Attendance on the client which will include:-
Obtaining relevant personal information, an explanation of the matter about which the client is to be interviewed, specifically, the offence and the elements to be proved; that which the police have outlined in disclosure and the client’s instructions.
Advice regarding police procedure generally, the interview procedure, and the caution including the client’s options in interview.
Advice regarding the appropriate course of action to be taken in the PACE interview.
There may be specific queries raised by the client covering such topics as the taking of samples, identification procedures, drug testing, and procedure after interview.
The PACE interview – there are likely to be several questions dealing with the interview and police conduct.
Post interview - further issues in relation to conduct of the interview may need to be raised and representations made as to the way forward
Potentially further issues in relation to police objection to bail.
Within the above scenarios, the marks will be specifically weighted to reflect the importance of information gathering from the police, from the client and the advice given to the client.
Please be aware if you do not engage with the role play element of the assessment or if you come out of role play during your responses, you will not score any marks for these questions.
This CIT guide was provided by the lovely people at DataLaw, providers of accreditation and training courses.
CRITICAL INCIDENTS TIPS Many Probationary Police Station Reps feel that the Critical Incidents Test is the most difficult aspect of the accreditation; in fact there's always someone in your firm who'll tell you it's impossible to pass. But the CIT is simply assessing what you do every day when attending the police station, much of which is usually done without a second thought.
The purpose of the CIT isn't to trick or confuse you, it's your chance to show the Assessor your knowledge and skills as a representative. When you sit the CIT you'll be well under way as a probationary rep and attending the police station regularly, coming across various offences, clients and issues. Along with the experience you already have, here are some helpful tips on passing the Critical Incidents Test first time:
1. ARRIVE WITH TIME TO SPARE All of Datalaw’s CIT assessments are held in the afternoon, allowing you ample time to catch the right train or avoid rush hour traffic on your way to the test centre. It's never nice to arrive late, flustered, dishevelled and needing the loo - but even more so when you're about to undertake an assessment. Ensure you give yourself ample time to arrive at the venue, catch your breath, use the bathroom and go over your notes. The invigilator will make sure you're comfortable before proceeding with the test, but you'll only provide more stress for yourself if you're not on time.
2. ORGANISE YOUR NOTES You can bring any materials you think will be useful into the assessment - this includes text books, handwritten notes, pro-forma sheets, cue cards etc. The time you have to refer to these will be limited, so it's not advised to bring a suitcase full of stuff (which has happened) but rather compile organised and methodical materials. All of the questions that are asked in the CIT, you can answer; you're a probationary rep. and are used to dealing with these matters. The notes you bring should simply build upon knowledge you already have.
3. USE THE ALLOCATED TIME WISELY At the end of each question you have 30 seconds to gather your thoughts and consult your notes before starting your answer. 30 seconds may not seem like a long time, but it is. The invigilator is timing this and will give you an indication when 20 seconds are up, so it's not going to creep up on you unexpectedly. Use this allocated time to your advantage - you may know how to answer the question straight away, which is great, but just give yourself a head start by opening the correct page of PACE or turning to the relevant section of your notes so you don't have to do this in the middle of your answer. Even if you don't need to consult any notes, just take the time to think through what you're about to say.
4. REMEMBER TO STAY IN ROLE PLAY A candidate can be doing really well, answering all questions calmly and professionally, but if they come out of role play at any point the assessment is a failure. Coming out of role play includes such things as asking the invigilator to explain something (they are not permitted to do so), saying 'I would speak to the client and tell them…' or 'I am now going to tell the police…'. You have to imagine, as much as possible, that you are speaking directly to the person on the tape. Each question will make it clear who you are addressing e.g. your client, custody officer etc. so you simply have to pretend that you are speaking to them as though they are sitting in front of you.
5. REMAIN CALM Nerves can get the better of all of us, but with adequate preparation and forethought there is no reason this should happen during the CIT. The invigilator will explain everything that is going to happen, in as much detail as you require. They will answer any questions you have and are very good at making you feel at ease during the process. We would always recommend practicing some CIT scenario questions beforehand with a colleague or a friend - Datalaw offer an online comprehensive support course which includes two recorded lectures, numerous CIT scenarios and an audio recording of a CIT which you can use as a mock exercise. The more knowledge you have about what you are likely to come across, the more calm you will be during the test.
Good luck, don't fret, and get in touch if you have any questions about the CIT.
These CIT tips were provided by the lovely people at DataLaw, providers of accreditation and training courses.
Back to Top ↑ WRITTEN EXAM GUIDE The purpose of the Written Exam is to assess your understanding of the representative’s role in the police station and the skills that are needed to perform that role effectively. Your knowledge and understanding of criminal law, evidence, practice and procedure will also be assessed.
Upon registration, candidate are issued with a copy of our regulations which provide detailed guidance on format, content and assessment criteria. The Written Exam must be passed prior to undertaking of Part A of the Portfolio.
Exemptions The Legal Aid Agency provides exemptions from the Written Exam; these are available to: Those who have completed the Legal Practice Course
Fellows or members of the Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX) who have passed the Institute’s Level 4 Professional Higher Diploma in Law (previously known as the Part 2 examinations) which must include the Criminal Law and Litigation papers
Those who have completed the Bar Professional Training Course If you are unsure of your exemption you are advised to contact the Legal Aid Agency.
Assessment Format The Written Exam is a two hour assessment which consists of five questions. Each question is worth 25 marks. You will be required to attempt four questions of the five questions set. If a fifth question is answered, it will not be marked. Questions can be answered in any order. In order to pass the Written Exam you must score at least 50%.
DataLaw holds exams every month, for locations and dates please download our timetable.
Examination Topics The Written Exam will assess your understanding of, and ability to, explain to a client relevant law and procedures drawn from the major areas listed below: Substantive criminal law
The treatment of persons in custody
The conduct of police interviews
The evidential significance of facts or of things said or not said
Police powers outside the police station
The criminal process The assessment is 'open book'. You may take text books, printed versions of books/guidelines and on-line materials purchased from Datalaw into the assessment. These support materials can be highlighted and/or underlined but cannot be annotated.
Due to the time restraints, candidates are advised not to spend too much valuable time on detailed or lengthy research.
The following books have been recommended by our candidates: 'Blackstone’s Police Operational Handbook' - Ian Bridges, Fraser Sampson and Police National Legal Database (PNLD)
'Defending Suspects at Police Stations: The Practitioner’s Guide to Advice and Representation' – Ed Cape
'Advising a Suspect at the Police Station' – Anthony Edwards
'Police Station Skills for Legal Advisors' – Eric Shepherd
'Police Station Advisor’s Index' – Brian Spiro and Stephen Bird MORE INFORMATION
You will be assessed against the SRA’s Standards of Competence. Its well worth reading.
Candidates would also be well advised to read this Law Society guide by Ed Cape. Its an excellent discussion on adverse inferences from no comment interviews. If you have found any books or materials not listed here that were useful during your accreditation, please let us know so we can add to this list.
This written exam guide was provided by the lovely people at DataLaw, providers of accreditation and training courses.
Back to Top ↑ CARDIFF GUIDANCE PAPER
Cardiff Guidance Notes This is a useful guide from Cardiff who are one of the providers for course and exams. It is well worth reading and covers the whole process.
Back to Top ↑ SAMPLE PAPERS If you have any sample exam papers do please forward them to us.
PSR Written Exam Part A
PSR Written Exam Part B
Back to Top ↑ QUERIES & QUESTIONS Should you have any queries please feel free to use our contact page to drop us a line. We get an awful lot of enquiries about how to become a police station rep. We are happy to field any questions that may occur to you. But you can also ask questions of these organistations as well:
Law Society Tel: 0207 316 5550 Email: email@example.com
Police Station Representative Service Tel 0845 543 8910 Selectapost 45, Sheffield S97 3FS Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
www.policestationreps.com Email: email@example.com