Verbal Caution Given but no signature request or paperwork given

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misswoosie

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Hi, just looking for some clarification here. Situation is as follows. Young person boarded FTPE train to Liverpool Lime street at Newcastle Central Station to travel to Durham. Didn't allow enough time to purchase a ticket at the station. Intended to buy a ticket from the conductor on the train as they've been able to do many times before. Never been issued with an Unpaid fair Notice before and travels very frequently on trains all over the country, mostly purchasing tickets in advance for long journeys. Was stopped by a Revenue Protection officer and offered to pay. Was verbally cautioned when couldn't produce a ticket. Was very frightened, thought was going to be arrested (never had any contact with police before, was in tears when they called me) and stated that they'd got on the train at Manors station where there's no ticket machine. Officer told him he was lying as the train hadn't come that way, or something to that effect. Wasn't asked to verify what the Officer had written down or sign it (which is what the FTPE revenue protection policy states) and wasn't given any documentation. The officer flashed his badge in front of his face at some point. He told the person that they could remain on the train past Chester-le Street and have an interview. Person asked what the benefit of that would be and was told "none really" by the Officer. Told they will get a letter in the post. According to the FTPE policy if the Officer cautioned him then he is accredited under PACE- the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. I assume therefore that there are strict procedures that they should follow once they caution someone. Surely the person should be allowed to read the "evidence" and sign as a true statement of the facts? Additonally, I would have thought that person should've been given something with the name of the Officer and a reference number? Just told by the Officer that they would get a letter in the post. Have called the FTPE customer relations and they were pretty useless as they don't deal directly with revenue protection and I knew more about their policy than she did. Just looking for advice regarding the points of law and the PACE act and the appearance that the Officer seemed not to follow the procedures and also about what happens next. Thanks for any clarification and/or advice.
 
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Three questions that came to mind which would help us clarify the situation. Firstly how old is the "young person"? Secondly did he start his journey at Manors or at Newcastle? Finally were the gatelines in operation at Newcastle at that time?
 

island

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Let me assure you that revenue inspectors are not required to ask suspects to sign anything, nor to show them notes, nor to give their name or a reference number to the suspects. If you're looking to "get off on a technicality" that won't be it.
 

Agent_c

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. Was stopped by a Revenue Protection officer and offered to pay. Was verbally cautioned when couldn't produce a ticket. Was very frightened, thought was going to be arrested (never had any contact with police before, was in tears when they called me)

Bear in mind RPI's aren't police, they work for the railway company, so a lot of the rules that apply to police don't apply.

Did he begin his journey at Newcastle Central, or Manors station?
 
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dquebec

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As far as my criminal legal training goes:

1) There is no automatic right to view the interview notes or records at the time they were taken or recorded. These documents would be provided to a defendant when/if a Magistrates' summons is received.

2) A signature, or lack of one, doesn't really mean much. The accuracy of the notes can be contested under penalty of perjury during cross examination during the trial.

3) I suspect Transpennine Express will refer the case to their Prosecution team, who will review the initial interview notes, and will likely correspond with the potential offender, seeking a fuller explanation, (and likely they're also looking for a sincere apology/mitigation/full admission), before deciding whether to prosecute or not.

4) I would therefore wait, (they have 6 months to deal with the matter), for correspondence from TPE or their agents, before doing anything further.
 

DaveNewcastle

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People who have done something wrong (and some who haven't!) often try to find fault with the person who detected the suspected wrongdoing. It's quite understandable, as the obvious response of wishing to put the clock back and undo the wrong isn't going to happen!

But sadly, any procedural omissions by the investigating officer is only likely to have a marginal effect on the uses to which any evidence is put. My hunch is that there may have been more than enough simple evidence as matters of fact that the passenger had been unable to produce a relevant ticket when requested, and that their name and address had been quite correctly obtained. If my hunch is correct, then the requirements of PACE hardly come into it.

I may be wrong in this hunch, as the statement of having boarded at Manors is capable of incriminating the passenger in a more serious offence with a fraudulent intention, and that evidence might fail if not obtained to the statutory standards. If the opportunity to attend an interview was acepted, then I'm sure PACE standards would have been followed.

If you follow me so far, you'll see that the evidence obtained properly is enough to secure a Byelaw conviction, which is not a 'recordable' offence, and that the more incriminating statement about boarding elsewhere which might have been obtained in a PACE interview, and which might have lead to a more serious 'recordable' offence, was not obtained. So it's not all bad.
 

misswoosie

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Thanks so much for all the replies. Really appreciated. Can clarify a few more facts regarding the events having spoken to the person (who's my son) again when he was less upset.
Three questions that came to mind which would help us clarify the situation. Firstly how old is the "young person"? Secondly did he start his journey at Manors or at Newcastle? Finally were the gatelines in operation at Newcastle at that time?

Age 20. Journey started at Newcastle Central, so yes he lied because he panicked. By the gatelines, do you mean the barriers? He was allowed through the barrier by a staff member who knows him from his frequent travel and because he often goes to the station to do his photography.
Let me assure you that revenue inspectors are not required to ask suspects to sign anything, nor to show them notes, nor to give their name or a reference number to the suspects. If you're looking to "get off on a technicality" that won't be it.
We're not looking to get off with anything. As professional people and parents we're seeking information regarding what the "procedure" was that the RPI implemented and what policy he followed and if he's potentially going to end up in court! He cautioned him under PACS 1984, therefore he falls into the category of a person who "has the powers or duties of a Police Officer conferred or imposed on them" then surely they have to follow PACS? Additionally, what you're saying is contrary to the FTPE Revenue Protection Policy published on their website here
http://www.tpexpress.co.uk/about-us/customer/revenue-protection-policy/

As far as my criminal legal training goes:

1) There is no automatic right to view the interview notes or records at the time they were taken or recorded. These documents would be provided to a defendant when/if a Magistrates' summons is received.

2) A signature, or lack of one, doesn't really mean much. The accuracy of the notes can be contested under penalty of perjury during cross examination during the trial.

3) I suspect Transpennine Express will refer the case to their Prosecution team, who will review the initial interview notes, and will likely correspond with the potential offender, seeking a fuller explanation, (and likely they're also looking for a sincere apology/mitigation/full admission), before deciding whether to prosecute or not.

4) I would therefore wait, (they have 6 months to deal with the matter), for correspondence from TPE or their agents, before doing anything further.
Thanks. I've clarified that what happened was that my son asked if he could buy a ticket as soon as the inspector approached him on the train. It wasn't that the inspector asked him to produce his ticket. He's genuinely always been able to buy a ticket from the inspectors on the train in the past when he hasn't had time to buy a ticket prior to boarding. He's not denying that he got on the train without a ticket, but his intentions weren't to try and dodge paying his fare.
People who have done something wrong (and some who haven't!) often try to find fault with the person who detected the suspected wrongdoing. It's quite understandable, as the obvious response of wishing to put the clock back and undo the wrong isn't going to happen!

But sadly, any procedural omissions by the investigating officer is only likely to have a marginal effect on the uses to which any evidence is put. My hunch is that there may have been more than enough simple evidence as matters of fact that the passenger had been unable to produce a relevant ticket when requested, and that their name and address had been quite correctly obtained. If my hunch is correct, then the requirements of PACE hardly come into it.

I may be wrong in this hunch, as the statement of having boarded at Manors is capable of incriminating the passenger in a more serious offence with a fraudulent intention, and that evidence might fail if not obtained to the statutory standards. If the opportunity to attend an interview was acepted, then I'm sure PACE standards would have been followed.

If you follow me so far, you'll see that the evidence obtained properly is enough to secure a Byelaw conviction, which is not a 'recordable' offence, and that the more incriminating statement about boarding elsewhere which might have been obtained in a PACE interview, and which might have lead to a more serious 'recordable' offence, was not obtained. So it's not all bad.

See above regarding following procedures. In the past year we've (myself and husband and our son) have been victims of crime. My husband and I are eye witnesses for the CPS (arson in our block of flats) and have been waiting for 8 months to go to court to give evidence, so you'll have to forgive me for being a bit of a stickler regarding points of law and implementation of procedures, even if it won't make any difference to what happens. And yes, I do follow you regarding the lie about boarding at Manors incriminating him and the absence of the interview. So you mention a Byelaw conviction. What does this involve?

I now know that he was only asked one question by the inspector-"Where did you board the train".When son answered "Manors" he laughed and said "You've deliberately tried to scam the barrier system" or words to that effect. He was writing things down and then he cautioned him. By the time he was cautioned the train was almost at his station so the part about the interview must have been very rushed and the officer didn't tell him where the interview would be held. As I said, it wasn't clear to my son why he was being asked/told to stay on the train and go and be interviewed somewhere (in which case I assume he would have been able to have legal representation) and that's why he asked if there was any benefit for him to go.
 

DaveNewcastle

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Coming back to this incident after a few hours reflection . . . .
Rather than try to find fault with the Inspector, I'm wondering if (s)he was maybe offering some sympathetic concession to the young ticketless passenger ?

As I said above, the strict facts of travelling without a ticket are hardly controversial, and any penalty or alternative settlement is hardly damaging. But if the Inspector had wanted to be harsh, and pursue the false claim of boarding at Manors as 'an excuse' which was untrue, then a conviction for a serious fraudulent offence would be very likely. The Inspector would have known that, and would have known that incriminating evidence should be obtained to the standards set out in PACE.

So, I'm now wondering if the Inspector decided not to take the more incriminating evidence of fare evasion to the standard required to secure a conviction, deliberately, and just left it as a simple 'failure to present a ticket when requested'.

Just a thought. If so, your young friend should be grateful.
 

Agent_c

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We're not looking to get off with anything.

In that case, I'd forget about any argument against the procceedure.

He did it, he confessed to it - to you. Ethically and Morally, the only course left is to put it right by dealing with the train company on this basis.

If he got an unpaid fare notice, pay it - now, today, before things get worse.

If he didn't, they'll (FGW) likely be in contact in time; presuming they are make sure your son has a grovelling apology ready, acknowledging he's done the wrong thing and offering to put things right with an out of court settlement, should they be inclined to accept one.

Its going to be more than the most expensive fare for the trip, as they'll probably want some of their admin and investigation costs compensated.

Anything else, is just trivia.

Speaking of Trivia, the policy only says some members are PACE trained and accredited, not all.
 
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misswoosie

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Coming back to this incident after a few hours reflection . . . .
Rather than try to find fault with the Inspector, I'm wondering if (s)he was maybe offering some sympathetic concession to the young ticketless passenger ?

As I said above, the strict facts of travelling without a ticket are hardly controversial, and any penalty or alternative settlement is hardly damaging. But if the Inspector had wanted to be harsh, and pursue the false claim of boarding at Manors as 'an excuse' which was untrue, then a conviction for a serious fraudulent offence would be very likely. The Inspector would have known that, and would have known that incriminating evidence should be obtained to the standards set out in PACE.

So, I'm now wondering if the Inspector decided not to take the more incriminating evidence of fare evasion to the standard required to secure a conviction, deliberately, and just left it as a simple 'failure to present a ticket when requested'.

Just a thought. If so, your young friend should be grateful.

Yes, I agree that it sounds as though that could be what has happened. It's the waiting and not knowing that's difficult. Thank you.

In that case, I'd forget about any argument against the procceedure.

He did it, he confessed to it - to you. Ethically and Morally, the only course left is to put it right by dealing with the train company on this basis.

If he got an unpaid fare notice, pay it - now, today, before things get worse.

If he didn't, they'll (FGW) likely be in contact in time; presuming they are make sure your son has a grovelling apology ready, acknowledging he's done the wrong thing and offering to put things right with an out of court settlement, should they be inclined to accept one.

Its going to be more than the most expensive fare for the trip, as they'll probably want some of their admin and investigation costs compensated.

Anything else, is just trivia.

Speaking of Trivia, the policy only says some members are PACE trained and accredited, not all.

As I said before-he wasn't given an unpaid fare notice .He didn't understand what was happening because,the Inspector didn't make it clear. He didn't understand (and TBH neither do you or I) if it would be best for him to go for an interview at a place not disclosed to him. This took place in front of other passengers on a train in the space of about 4 minutes. We don't categorise company policy and procedures or Acts of Parliament as Trivia. Such things exist to protect everyone involved. Any FTPE inspector who issues a caution is doing so under PACE 1984, and this is exactly what the FTPE policy says. Quote directly from their policy

(i).Members of the Revenue Team receive intensive training in order to carry this out and this involves both accredited members of the legal profession and British Transport Police.

(ii).Some members of the Revenue Team are trained and duly accredited under PACE - the Police and Criminal Evidence Act.

(iii).These officers will caution you with the prescribed words:

"You do not have to say anything but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned anything you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be used in evidence."

(iv).They will then question you appropriately about the journey you are making/have made and any tickets/other documentation you may have for that journey and make contemporaneous notes on that interview.

(v).For your own protection, you will be invited to sign the officer's notebook underneath the notes to verify that they are a true and correct version of what has taken place and what has been said.

(vi).The member of the Revenue Teamis empowered to withdraw your ticket or any other documentation to support that ticket if he/she suspects it is invalid and will submit these with his/her report on the incident. In these circumstances the conductor will issue you with a ticket at no charge to allow you to complete the journey you are making.

(vii).The officer will then take his leave of you and subsequently submit a report on the incident to FGW.

Thank you again to everyone for taking the time to respond.
 

misswoosie

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Coming back to this incident after a few hours reflection . . . .
Rather than try to find fault with the Inspector, I'm wondering if (s)he was maybe offering some sympathetic concession to the young ticketless passenger ?

As I said above, the strict facts of travelling without a ticket are hardly controversial, and any penalty or alternative settlement is hardly damaging. But if the Inspector had wanted to be harsh, and pursue the false claim of boarding at Manors as 'an excuse' which was untrue, then a conviction for a serious fraudulent offence would be very likely. The Inspector would have known that, and would have known that incriminating evidence should be obtained to the standards set out in PACE.

So, I'm now wondering if the Inspector decided not to take the more incriminating evidence of fare evasion to the standard required to secure a conviction, deliberately, and just left it as a simple 'failure to present a ticket when requested'.

Just a thought. If so, your young friend should be grateful.

Yes, perhaps this is the case. We'll just have to wait. Thank you for taking the time to offer your view.
 

Stigy

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Not much to add, but I'll provide my two pennies' worth nonetheless.

I'll be honest here in that it doesn't sound like the RPI conducted a particularly thorough interview, especially if it all took about 4-minutes. It's not a requirement as such under PACE to sign the officer's notes, but not doing so could mean that the officer could write pretty much anything after the suspect leaves the scene and said suspect can argue that as to the accuracy of the officer's notes. Of course the overall quality of the officer's notebook entries matters a great deal too, for example, if a suspect refuses to sign when requested, as long as the officer writes this down, it would strengthen his evidence in court should the matter get that far. If his notes are bleak and have limited information in them, then a good solicitor could quite easily tear them apart. Of course all this depends on the charge (Byelaw or Regulation of Railways Act in this case) and whether one has the money to get professional legal help, or the bottle and knowledge to defend themselves without looking like an idiot.
 
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