Dated: 12 Dec 2013
NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED
POLICY TITLE: Family Liaison
OWNING DIRECTORATE: Major Crime and Intelligence
AUTHOR: Detective Chief Inspector, Major Investigation Team, Crime Department
CONTACT DETAILS: 101 Ext. 69493
EQUALITY IMPACT ASSESSMENT: Complete
AIM OF POLICY: To provide information to, and facilitate care and support for, the family who are themselves victims, in a sensitive and compassionate way in accordance with the needs of the investigation.
BENEFIT OF POLICY: The application of this policy will ensure that the family who are themselves victims, are cared for and supported in a sensitive and compassionate way.
REASON FOR POLICY: To provide information in regard to the consideration of how to provide support to the family.
DESCRIPTION OF POLICY:
Northumbria Police has a positive duty to uphold the right to life imposed by Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act 1998. It also has a duty to investigate death. One of the most important considerations throughout the investigation of a death is providing professional, timely and accountable support to the family of the deceased that complies with the Victims Charter.
Northumbria Police will manage liaison with families having regard to their rights in respect of:
Article 5 - Right to Security and Liberty
Article 6 - Right to a Fair Trial
Article 8 - Right to Respect for Private and Family Life
Article 9 - Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion
Article 1 of the First Protocol: Protection of Property.
Families will be considered as partners in an investigation and treated appropriately, professionally, with respect and in accordance with their diverse needs.
Family liaison will be used where there is a violent or unexplained death, particularly in respect of:
Road death occurring in a ‘special category road traffic collision’ as defined in the procedure on investigating fatal and serious collisions; and
Mass fatality emergencies to fulfil the needs of the police investigation.
The deployment of Family Liaison Officers (FLOs) will also be considered in instances of drugs related deaths, work-related deaths, joint Police and Health and Safety Executive investigations, and deaths which require a police investigation on behalf of HM Coroner. Where the decision is made not to deploy FLOs in such cases then the officer in charge (OIC) will ensure that effective provision is in place to provide bereaved family members the appropriate level of support and access to information, in compliance with the Victims Code 2013. This will include the identification of a single point of contact to perform this liaison function. In cases where the single point of contact is the Coroner's Officer then the OIC will ensure that the Coroner's Officer is kept up to date with the progress of the investigation.
It will be considered in other cases that do not involve fatality, where family liaison might enhance the effectiveness of the police response, for example, hate crime or managing critical incidents that effect confidence in the police.
The aim of family liaison is to:
Analyse the needs, concerns and expectations of the family in order to identify relevant and realistic action that should be taken.
Work with the family in order to comply with their right to receive information connected with the enquiry, subject to the needs of the investigation, while seeking to gather intelligence, information and evidence from them which will assist the investigation.
In order to achieve these aims the objectives of family liaison are:
To provide information to, and facilitate care and support for, the family who are themselves victims, in a sensitive and compassionate way in accordance with the needs of the investigation.
To gather evidence and information from the family in a way which contributes to the investigation and preserves its integrity.
To secure the confidence and trust of the family thereby enhancing their contribution to the investigation.
To link with partner agencies such as National Homicide Service in accordance with agreed protocols
Family liaison will be overseen by a Detective Chief Inspector with portfolio responsibility. Family liaison coordinator's will be identified to coordinate delivery within Crime Department, Area Commands and Force Resilience Unit (FRU). The family liaison strategy and risk assessments for individual investigations will be the responsibility of the Senior Investigating Officer or Investigating Officer, albeit day to day management will be handled by a trained Family Liaison Officer(s) or advisors. Area Commanders and the Head of The Force Resilience Unit (FRU) will ensure that adequate numbers of Family Liaison Officers are trained and resourced.
SOURCE DOCUMENT: Association of Chief Police Officers Guidance
GROUPS AFFECTED: All Police Officers and Police Staff
ACCESS AND DISCLOSURE RESTRICTIONS: None