Thursday, 15 March 2012



What law allows individuals employed by the RSPCA to use Police facilities - Custody suite, holding cells, interview rooms - and participate in interviews - and often effectively run the interview?
This question has been raised with Police officers ranging from Constable to Chief Constable, Solicitors, Barristers and QC's - but none have been able to answer the question witha definitive law.

Thoughts and comments please.

Also, bear in mind that one Chief Constable, unable to answer the question satisfactorily, has withdrawn usage of Police facilities from the RSPCA.
I know that the rabid bunny huggers on the site will be up in arms that I have the temerity to question the legality of the actions of their favourite charity - but I consider it is a fair legal question.           
Of course, and I agree that it's important that officers at least have a basic understanding of it. My issue is not with the prosecuting of offenders, and I have no issue with the RSPCA launching private prosecutions, as that is their right. I just don't think that the RSPCA should have a monopoly created by their apparent official status (which doesn't actually exist), aided by the fact that public organisations such as the police allow them to utilise their facilities. If someone from Wildlife Aid (for example) wanted to conduct an interview with a suspect in a police station that you had arrested for an animal cruelty offence, would you (or your force) allow them to?

I respect your opinion (although I don't agree with it) with regard to the officer, and I suppose the very fact that the prosecution was presumably successful disproves my public interest argument. With regard to leaving dogs in cars, I rescued a dehydrated dog from a car once and called the RSPCA for assistance, and they weren't in the slightest bit interested in coming out to collect the dog (let alone deal with the offender).

The RSPCA are not a public body and are therefore unaccountable, I just really feel that the use of police facilities adds to an air of 'they're official', when the fact is they are not. I'm sure the individual RSPCA inspectors work hard and do their best, but I think the organisation as a whole could do a lot better.   

"In answer to your point about the police having the power to interview a suspect, they do have that power, and that's why they can arrest people, for prompt and effective investigation of the offence (so they can carry out a tape recorded interview). Also how they interview is governed by PACE codes of conduct. Police staff who carry out interviews are working on behalf of the police force, not some private enterprise such as the RSPCA, and also have specific powers such as the power to make secondary arrests (in a police station) should further offences come to light. "

The problem that I am trying to find an answer to is what law enables the RSPCA employees to not only attend interviews in Police Staions, but to actually take over the interview. have seen numerous transcripts and listened to tapes where not only are the RSPCA present but actually conductiing the interview.
I have no problems with a Police Officer interviewing someone in a Police Staion Interview room under caution and the interview taped - they have full legal entitlement to do so enshrined in law - but there does not appear to be any comment within English (& Welsh) Law that allows a Charity employees to utilise the facilities of a Police Station (Custody Suite, Holding cells and Interview Room) for the use of their own Private Prosecutions. In the absence of any law specifically allowing them the use of the facilities then the presence of any civilian not employed by the Police Force in an interview room and interviewing a suspect should be deemed to be illegal.         


Truth Teller said...

the rspca are well known to pay police and magistrates court clerks for information and special favors, this will never come out though because they also pay judges and politicians.

J Middleton said...

The RSPCA are working in collusion with the police, they share a common purpose!
Close down competing animal shelters, then the RSPCA become the only animal welfare charity, how long before they turn on the larger charities such as the Dog Trust and Cat Trusts etc?

Anonymous said...

The only other civilian allowed in an interview is a person known as an'Appropriate Adult' - acting for the interests of a juvenile or vulnerable adult

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