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M125 Digital Sound Recording by Crisis Negotiators 

1. Security protective marking

1.1 Not Protectively Marked.

2. Summary of changes

2.1 The following changes have been made to this policy on 7 August 2012:

  • Removal of references to media cards as the approved digital recorders do not contain removable media;
  • Wherever possible two negotiators should record conversations simultaneously.

2.2 This policy is scheduled for review in August 2014.

3. Introduction 

3.1.  This procedure covers any use of a digital sound recorder (owned and/or released for use by Kent Police) that is used in conjunction with the deployment of crisis negotiators. Only equipment issued by Kent Police can be used for official duties.

3.2.  This policy refers to all types of digital sound recording, which will be treated as evidential and should be utilised in adherence with this policy.

3.3.  The digital sound recorder may only be used for the purpose for which it is issued and authorised for use by the Crisis Negotiator Coordinator.

3.4.  Authorisation and use of digital sound recorders will be subject to the Justifiable, Appropriate, Proportionate, Auditable, Necessary (JAPAN) principles regarding Human Rights.

 4. Authority 

4.1.  A general authority to use the equipment in conjunction with the role of a Crisis Negotiator is granted by the Force Coordinator who is an officer of at least the rank of Inspector.

4.2.  It is mandatory that officers complete relevant training in the use of equipment and digital procedure before using any digital recording equipment.

4.3.  Authorisation under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) is not necessary to allow the negotiator to record their conversation with the subject, provided no steps are taken to ensure that the subject is unaware that recording is taking place (in other words, providing the recording is not made covertly). For the purposes of RIPA, simply not informing the subject that the conversation is being recorded does not make the recording covert. If the negotiator is asked if a recording is being made, they must answer truthfully.


5. Audit

5.1.  The digital sound recorder is personal issue.

5.2.  Consideration of the audit trail must be given at all times whilst using the digital sound recorder.

5.3.  The recording of an audit trail is mandatory as well as fundamental to the admissibility of digital evidence in court. You should record the following:

    • That the digital sound recorder has been checked prior to use;
    • When the digital recorder hard drive was copied;
    • The reference number of both the Master and Working copies of the CD;
    • The date of destruction of the discs after the Statutory Retention Period has lapsed.

 6. Checking the operation of the recorder 

6.1.  As a minimum, the Crisis Negotiator must confirm that the date, time and settings on the recorder are correct.

6.2.  The Crisis Negotiator must ensure that there are sufficient batteries and space on the memory card for the length of their duties.

6.3.  It is the responsibility of the Crisis Negotiator to confirm that the recorder is in good working condition before being on call for Crisis Negotiator duties. If there is a problem, the Negotiator Co-ordinator or Team Leader must be informed.

 7. Capture 

7.1.  Under no circumstances must sound files be deleted whilst recording is taking place. This will create a gap in the series of files on the media card and may cause a legal challenge.

 8. Protection of sound recording 

8.1.  The entire contents of the recorder must be saved on completion of a job or when the media card is full.

8.2.  The digital recorder must not be accessed by a computer at any time prior to the creation of the Master copy CD.

8.3.  The digital recorder must be copied on to ‘closed session’ writable CDs. All police related work requires two CDs.

8.3.1.  CD copy one is designated the Master copy

8.3.2.  CD copy two is designated the Working copy

8.4.  The secure write verification option must be used when copying

8.5.  All discs should have on their label the following details as a minimum:

    • Date;
    • Officer’s name and force number;
    • Exhibit/disc reference number;
    • Master or Working Copy CD;
    • Signature.

8.5.1.  This information must be written in a permanent CD marker pen not a ballpoint pen.

 9. Master CD copy

9.1.  The master copy should be signature sealed with an evidential label specifically designed for a CD.

9.2.  The master CD should be stored in a dark, clean, dry and secure environment. Storing the master copy in local tape storage facilities will meet these requirements.

9.3.  To provide an audit trail of the master copy the negotiator return will record the reference number and location.

9.4.  The master disc is primary evidence and will be used in court to verify recordings produced from working copies.

9.5.  Any access to the master copy must be recorded in your audit trail. The master seal may only be broken in the presence of a magistrate if it is to be used as evidence.

 10. Working CD copy 

10.1.  The second disc designated the working copy is used for any sound recording distribution.

10.2.  Any copying or distribution should be recorded within your audit trail.

10.3.  The working copy should be stored in a secure location, which will not usually be the same location as the master copy.

 11. Exhibition in court 

11.1.  The contents of any recordings should be regarded as sensitive information and must be scheduled as such on Form Mg6d. Requests under public interest immunity must be considered to avoid the unnecessary disclosure of police tactics. If negotiator recordings are to be used in court then liaison must occur between the Officer In Charge (OIC) and Crisis Negotiator Force Co-ordinator.

11.2.  Exhibiting of the master/working copy discs and subsequent copies should be in compliance with policy C02: Release of Information, Film and Photographs.

13. Retention and disposal of records


13.1. If the contents of the discs are used in a conviction, the relevant discs must be kept for the period of the sentence.


13.2. If discs are not used in a criminal conviction, the period of retention is 6 years.


13.3. Please refer to the Disposal Schedule.

12. Equality impact assessment


12.1. An Equality Impact Assessment has been completed for this policy. As a result, it has been graded as having a low potential impact.

Policy reference: M125 Digital Sound Recording by Crisis Negotiators
Policy owner: Head of Crime and Intelligence
Contact point: Policy Unit, 01622 653298
Date last reviewed: 22 August 2012
Document last saved: 23 August 2012