An Act to make provision for collaboration between the emergency services; to make provision about the handling of police complaints and other matters relating to police conduct and to make further provision about the Independent Police Complaints Commission; to make provision for super-complaints about policing; to make provision for the investigation of concerns about policing raised by whistle-blowers; to make provision about police discipline; to make provision about police inspection; to make provision about the powers of police civilian staff and police volunteers; to remove the powers of the police to appoint traffic wardens; to enable provision to be made to alter police ranks; to make provision about the Police Federation; to make provision in connection with the replacement of the Association of Chief Police Officers with the National Police Chiefs’ Council; to make provision about the system for bail after arrest but before charge; to make provision about the retention of biometric material; to make provision to enable greater use of modern technology at police stations; to make other amendments to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984; to amend the powers of the police under the Mental Health Act 1983; to extend the powers of the police in relation to maritime enforcement; to make provision for cross-border enforcement; to make provision about the powers of the police to require removal of disguises; to make provision about deputy police and crime commissioners and the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime; to make provision to enable changes to the names of police areas; to make provision about the regulation of firearms and pyrotechnic articles; to make provision about the licensing of alcohol; to make provision about the implementation and enforcement of financial sanctions; to amend the Police Act 1996 to make further provision about police collaboration; to make provision about the powers of the National Crime Agency; to make provision for requiring arrested persons to provide details of nationality; to make provision for requiring defendants in criminal proceedings to provide details of nationality and other information; to make provision about the seizure etc of invalid travel documents; to make provision for pardons for convictions etc for certain abolished offences; to make provision to protect the anonymity of victims of forced marriage; to increase the maximum sentences of imprisonment for certain offences of putting people in fear of violence etc; to make provision to combat the sexual exploitation of children and to protect children and vulnerable adults from harm; to make provision about coroners’ duties in respect of deaths in state detention; to make provision about the powers of litter authorities in Scotland; and for connected purposes.
The act enacts various changes to existing rules involving PCCs, complaints through the IPCC, amendments to PACE 1984 etc. One notable change involves the expansion of powers to police civilian staff and introduces voluntary police community support officers (PCSOs). It is also expands the powers of a PCSO to "any power or duty of a constable, other than a power or duty specified in Part 1 of Schedule 3B (excluded powers and duties)". Part 6 of the act brings clarity to the classifying guns under the Firearms Act 1968, based on recommendations from the Law Commission.
Another change relates to police bail, which can now only be authorised by an officer of inspector rank or higher (so normally a suspect will now be released without bail if not charged), and extending this period is now only possible once by authorisation of a superintendent officer, or again by a magistrates' court; previously it was possible for police to effectively restrain a person indefinitely by extending the bail period every 28 days.
Controversially this has led police forces to adopt an alternative method of 'releasing under investigation' with no time limits or conditions, requiring a suspect to respond by post.
The act also implements the Alan Turing law, offering an automatic pardon to men convicted for homosexual acts that are no longer considered criminal offences.