Inside Police Custody

An Empirical Account of Suspects’ Rights in Four Jurisdictions

This empirical study of the procedural rights of suspects in four EU jurisdictions – France, Scotland, the Netherlands and England and Wales – focuses on three of the procedural rights set out in the EU Roadmap for strengthening the procedural rights of suspected or accused persons in criminal proceedings – the right to interpretation and translation; the right to information and the letter of rights; and the right to legal assistance before and during police interrogation.

In order to examine how these procedural rights operate in practice, the authors spent between two and five months in eight field sites across the four jurisdictions. During this time they observed lawyers and police officers during the period of police custody; examined case records; observed lawyer-client consultations; and attended suspect interrogations. Furthermore, they conducted 75 interviews with police officers, lawyers and accredited legal representatives.

In addition to producing and analysing empirical data, the authors have developed training guidelines for lawyers and police officers involved in the police detention process for use across the EU. The project team also produced a series of recommendations for legislative and policy changes designed to ensure better enforcement of the EU procedural rights’ instruments that are envisaged in the Stockholm Programme.

The study was carried out by the Universities of Maastricht, Warwick and the West of England, together with JUSTICE. Avon and Somerset Police and the Open Society Justice Initiative were also collaborators on the project.

This book is accompanied by a Training Framework on the Provision of Suspects’ Rights, the objective of which is to enhance the knowledge, understanding and skills of criminal justice practitioners – police officers and defence lawyers – in respect of the procedural rights of suspects in police detention.

About this report

Inside Police Custody has been eagerly awaited by those working on legislation and policy in the field of procedural protections for suspects at EU level. This ground-breaking study is the first piece of comparative research to look at what actually happens in the process of police detention and interrogation in different jurisdictions, and to assess the differences in practice. Its findings will make essential reading and inform legislation at both EU and national level.

Caroline Morgan, Principal Administrator and former Procedural Rights Team Leader at the European Commission

  • Published December 2013
  • ISBN 978-1-78068-157-3
  • Paperback xxxi + 575 pp


Jodie Blackstock (of JUSTICE), Ed Cape, Jacqueline Hodgson, Anna Ogorodova and Taru Sproken

Copies available on request.

Read: Inside police custody : an empirical account of suspects’ rights in four jurisdictions

Read: Inside Policy Custody: Training Framework on the Provisions of Suspects’ Rights