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N65I Pocket notebooks (PNBs)

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 10 October 2011:

·                         The policy has been amended in its entirety to reflect new practice.

2.2. This policy is scheduled for review in October 2013. The review for this policy is on hold pending the Kent Police Policy Restructure throughout 2013/14.

 3. Application

3.1. This policy applies to:

    • all officers and staff who use a pocket notebook (PNB) and/or day book;
    • supervisors;
    • Deputy Commanders; 
    • staff responsible for maintaining new and archived PNBs and day books.

4. Purpose

4.1. The purpose of this policy is to outline the use, standards and storage of PNBs and day books.

4.2. PNB rules must be complied with so that any information recorded is credible if challenged in Court. If a case were to be lost due to the inadmissibility of information this could have a severe impact on public confidence, the force's reputation and confidence in the criminal justice system.

 5. Issue

5.1. All PNBs will be pre-numbered and distributed to patrol sergeants' offices by an identified PNB administrator. 

5.2. The numbers and to where they were sent is logged on the PNB spreadsheet.

5.3. Once received, all new PNBs will be placed in lockable storage to which sergeants have key access.

5.4. A sergeant will issue all pocket notebooks.

5.5. The front of the pocket book will be clearly completed. Including start and end date. 

5.6. The sergeant will enter onto the PNB Spreadsheet the number on the front of the PNB with the Officers details to whom it was issued.

5.7. The lockers will be kept stocked with new pocket notebooks by the PNB administrator

6. Use of pocket notebooks:

6.1. PNB entries should be used:

    • to record, at the earliest point, evidence and details of any incident that may result in criminal or civil proceedings. Entries in a PNB should be made at the time the event occurs or as soon as reasonably practicable;
    • as the first record of evidence and should record the full details of any incident and any other details they feel may assist them to recall the circumstances of the event at a later date, in particular when they are giving evidence in court;
    • to record information about an occurrence or event which the officer/member of staff considers it to be significant;
    • by operational officers/staff to record their precise tours of duty;
    • by operational officers/staff to record rest days, annual leave and periods of sickness, in these circumstances there is no need to have daily entries provided the time period covers any gaps between periods of works; and
    • “verbals” made by a suspect must be recorded in the officer/member of staff's PNB and the offer made to the suspect to sign the PNB to acknowledge the accuracy of the notes. If the suspect refuses to sign or otherwise disagrees with the content, this must also be noted by the officer/member of staff in their PNB.

6.2. Text message contact by police officers/ police staff with victims or witnesses.

6.2.1. The CPIA 1997 places a statutory responsibility on all Investigators (this includes civilians employed by the police) involved in the conduct of a criminal investigation, to record and retain relevant material.

6.2.2. Any contact, either in person or by other media, i.e. text, voicemail, email, must be regarded as potentially relevant and therefore should be recorded and retained in a durable and retrievable form, for examination by the Disclosure Officer. Failure to do so may result in a potential abuse of process argument.

6.3. No ELBOWS

6.3.1. The following rules must be complied with when using a PNB:

    • No Erasures - mistakes should be crossed through with a single line and initialled.
    • No Leaves torn out.
    • No Blank spaces - spaces at the end of lines or pages will be crossed through.
    • No Overwriting.
    • No Writing between the lines.
    • and Statements in direct speech.

6.3.2. If pages are left blank accidentally, they should be crossed through diagonally and the following text written 'omitted in error' with date, time and officer's signature.

6.4. Collaborated notes

6.4.1. Where two or more officers/members of staff are jointly engaged in any police matter requiring PNB entries or the completion of any notes, it is accepted that consultation may take place when completing these entries. The exception to this being where there is a death or serious injury following police contact. If the details can be remembered easily, each officer/member of staff should write the notes separately, independently and without consultation. In more complex cases where two or more officers/members of staff witness the same incident or are present at the same interview there is no objection to these officers/members of staff conferring together when preparing notes so that they may be as full and comprehensive as possible. In any case, where consultation takes place a note to this effect should be added.

6.4.2. Where two or more officers/members of staff are witnesses to an incident or present at an interview and the decision is taken to make PNB entries, it is acceptable for one officer/member of staff to make a full and accurate entry. This should be countersigned by other officers/members of staff involved. If it is not convenient or appropriate to adopt this practice, officers/members of staff should make individual PNB entries. If one officer has no recollection of a point observed or of a remark remembered by his/her colleague, he/she should not, incorporate such a matter into his/her PNB. A note, whether made in consultation with a colleague or otherwise, must reflect a genuine personal observation and recollection.

6.5. Loss of a PNB

6.5.1. The loss of a PNB should be reported to the officer's/member of staff's line manager/supervisor as soon as possible.

6.5.2. The PNB register will be updated to note that the PNB has been lost.

6.5.3. A new PNB will be issued as per paragraph 5. 

6.6. When a police officer requests a Police National Computer (PNC) check to be carried out over the radio/telephone, they must provide the full reason for the enquiry together with their force number. This allows the radio operator to place this information in the PNC originator line. This is no longer any requirement for officers who request a PNC check to record this in their PNB.


7. Day Books

7.1. Daybooks should be pre-numbered and issued in a similar manner to the PNB.

7.2. The PNB administrator will be responsible for the pre-numbering and distribution to relevant departments.

7.3. Each department will utilise the PNB/Daybook spreadsheet to input the following details: Date of issue, officer details, who issued against the relevant Daybook number.

7.4. Daybooks will be issued with a front sheet/inside front cover sheet that is available on: attached inserts. This will include who issued the book, the number of the book and to whom to it is issued. Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act (CPIA) responsibilities should be included.

7.5. Daybooks should be completed to a similarly high standard as a PNB although cannot be fully ELBOWS compliant, there should be no Erasures (mistakes should be crossed through with a single line and initialised), no Leaves torn out, no Overwriting and Statements should be in direct speech.

7.6. Completed Daybooks will be returned to the PNB administrator for safe storage and are updated on the spreadsheet.

7.7. When an officer takes out a Daybook from Divisional central storage for use at court or other reasonable purpose the following information will need to be recorded on the register or book: date daybook taken from storage, reason, Officer details. The database must be updated with the date the Daybook was returned.

8. Supervisors Responsibilities

8.1. Supervisors will be responsible for carrying out checks on team members' PNBs and Daybooks on a monthly basis.


8.2. These checks will be endorsed in the relevant PNB at the time of the check. Where there are areas of concern or a slip in standards, supervisors should ensure issues are rectified.


8.3. Regular inspections will be conducted by the Force Inspectorate to ensure this policy is complied with.


9. Storage

9.1. Upon completion of a PNB/Daybook, a supervisor must sign both the front cover and the final page.


9.2. The pocket notebook must then be taken to the PNB administrator where it will be entered onto a database and stored securely.

9.3. When an officer returns a completed PNB/Daybook to the PNB administrator the following information should be recorded in the electronic database: book number, date of return, officer/staff name.

9.4. It is acceptable to retain the last completed PNB/Daybook securely by the Officer, thus only ever having a current and one previous PNB/Daybook for reference purposes.

9.5. A record will be kept on the database of when the book is removed and returned (this should be as soon as possible after attending Court or other reasonable purpose).

9.6. When an officer takes out a PNB/Daybook from Divisional central storage for use at court or other reasonable purpose the following information will need to be recorded on the register: date PNB/Daybook taken from storage, reason, Officer details. The database must be updated with the date the PNB/Daybook was returned.

9.7. A key to the storage facility is to be kept in the Inspector's Office so that books can be accessed out of hours if needed.

9.8. The PNB administrator will send PNBs/Daybooks of two years old to Belvedere for storage. 

10. Administration

10.1. PNB entries are RESTRICTED and should be marked up as such when copying the information e.g. for case papers.


10.2. Flow chart for PNB process attached.


11. Retention and disposal of records


11.1. Documents mentioned in the above policy will be retained for the period specified in the disposal schedule.

12. Equality impact assessment


12.1. This policy has been assessed with regard to its  impact on equality.  As a result of this assessment the policy has been graded as having a low potential impact.

12.2. Attached is the latest equality impact assessment that forms part of the policy review process.

Policy reference: N65I Pocket notebooks (PNBs)
Policy owner: Chief Superintendent. Head of Central Investigation Command
Contact point: Policy Unit, 01622 653298
Date last reviewed: 10 October 2011
Document last saved: 15 October 2013