Discounts available for early bookings on “2020” CDAO courses

Controlled drugs spilled on desk


Sancus have started scheduling their CDAO training dates for the spring of 2020 and have announced discounts for early bookings on the Liverpool two day course and London two day and London one day refresher courses. We’ve made it easy to obtain your discounts by simply cutting and pasting the discounts code at the checkouts when booking your course. And the good news is that they can be used on all your places.

The codes are 

  • Liverpool CDAO Course – SaveJan2020
  • London CDAO Courses – SaveMarch2020

For more information and to book your place follow this link CDAO Courses 2020





New Course Discount

[et_pb_section bb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.0.106″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” background_layout=”light”]


Vehicle Digital Forensics


Sancus has partnered with Vehicle Forensics’ expert Noel Lowdon to deliver the Vehicle Digital Forensics Masterclass.

Vehicle Digital Forensics

Introductory Offer

As part of our introductory offer

Entering the voucher code


will save you 10% at the checkout
on or before the 27th April 2018.





Specialist Investigators Required

Sancus Solutions are looking for specialist investigators with a background in mental health.
Our team, which investigates NHS England  independent homicides and serious incidents investigations, is expanding. 
We are looking for Investigators and clinicians with experience in the mental health sector.
To register your interest and for further information contact us at

Disclosure of Unused Material – The Game

Our Investigation Skills Trainer, Kylie Wilson, who is also an experienced mentor for trainee investigators shares her thoughts on the current issues around disclosure of unused material. Kylie’s experiences focus on Police Officers, but this applies equally to anyone who investigates and prosecutes Criminal Offences.


disclosure and the court

< Pt.1 – A cause for Training  |  < Pt.2 – CPIA and Workload


Disclosure and the Court

When it comes to the theatre of court, disclosure is now the main player. There are tactics and tricks that are commonly used to discredit or undermine the prosecution, or more specifically the abilities of the Police Officers who have worked on the case.

Exhibits and witnesses used to be the biggest issues and likely source of a case failing, now these are managed more robustly and the evidence usually stands for itself in this technical age. CCTV, digital material, screen shots and the like are undeniable.

Disclosure, processes and paperwork are now the issue. For example, a drink drive case with infallible evidence from breath, urine or blood samples which absolutely shows the party to be guilty. No way of wiggling out of that one?

You would think so, but in fact the defence show a weakness in the case because a medical certificate has been requested to show that the person taking the sample was trained to do so. The defence waits for the last possible minute to request this information, knowing it takes time for their request to go via CPS to the officer and then to be actioned.

The certificate is not obtained in time and so the case fails at court due to lack of disclosure. Or alternatively, the officer receives it fairly quickly and understands what they need to do and obtains the certificate in time, so this time the defence decide that the nurse is now a vital witness and as such requires them or the scientist that examined the sample to attend court to give evidence.

If by some miracle the nurse or scientist agrees, usually by a live link to the court to give such evidence (as they do work some 200 miles away) the defence may well decide on the day that it is not agreed that they can deliver their evidence in this way and insists they must attend the court. The 200 mile distance means they cannot and the court dismisses the case. These are all examples I have seen over the last few months.

Not that the police and CPS don’t hold some of the blame. I used to always attend the plea and case management hearings for my cases and I was given the freedom to do so. Ask most officers whether they have attended court and you will find Detectives who have not. Most uniformed officers will very rarely attend court and so when they do they have no idea of the protocols.

Most of us cut our teeth on sitting in court and hearing other cases winning or failing on the actions of officers and I can feel the embarrassment still of sitting in the Crown Court with CPS and Defence arguing a point and the Judge asking where the Officer in the Case was to be able to settle the matter. When they weren’t there invariably the Judge was enraged. Officers do not habitually attend now, so what is happening?

I have on occasion stood up in court when an inexperienced prosecutor stated “no objections to bail” for a case I had previously spent an hour explaining to them to ensure a remand. Fortunately, the Clerk of the Court pointed out I may have had a different opinion and I was invited to the box to give the grounds on which a remand was being applied for.

Defence statements are another tool in the arsenal, they should be served 14 or 28 days (dependent on the court) after the initial disclosure setting out the defence case. CPS should chase these when they are delayed, officers should be thinking to themselves that if they haven’t received one it might be a good idea to chase it with CPS or bring it up at the Pre-Trial Preparation Hearing (PTPH).

However, as most officers don’t attend the PTPH they have no idea what is happening, what deals are being made, the fact that maybe the prosecutor hasn’t even read the file properly as it is one of ten they have on their workload that day and the details are lost on them.

So, when does the Defence Statement appear, the one with the defence outlined that might trigger further enquiries that might prove the defendant innocent? In my experience, on the Friday before the trial starts on the Monday.

The hapless investigator on reviewing this Defence Statement realises there may be some material that is relevant after all, now the defence is laid out, as the suspect maintained their right to silence in interview, they are only seeing this information for the first time. On reviewing said material they find something that indeed ‘undermines the prosecution case or assists the defence case’ and they have no choice but to reveal this at court on Monday morning as is their duty.

Cue the headlines and a formerly robust investigator who was ‘making it work’ who is now moved, restricted as to their duties, depressed and soon to be off sick.


New Course Launched – Vehicle Digital Forensics

Sancus has teamed up with one of the UK’s Leading Vehicle Forensics’ experts ‘Noel Lowdon’ to deliver the Vehicle Digital Forensics Masterclass





Vehicle Digital Forensics

Almost every modern vehicle now contains an infotainment system, these systems, monitor and record a tremendous amount of data. The problem is gaining access to this data, vehicle forensics is a notoriously difficult discipline, made even more so challenging by car manufacturers who are less than forthcoming with technical data.

Whilst currently overlooked by investigators, the infotainment system can provide a treasure trove for investigators, including favourite locations, recent destinations, navigation history, call logs, contact lists, SMS messages (content), vehicle events such as when and where a vehicles lights are turned on, which doors are opened and closed at specific times and connected devices whether over bluetooth / Wifi / Cable. This will no doubt prove a vital tool for investigators of serious and complex crime, where a vehicle has been used including fatal and serious Collisions.


Masterclass – This will be of particular relevance to SIO’s, Road death investigators and CSI.

The one day masterclass will provide an overview of vehicle infotainment systems and how they can provide a vital tool for investigators.

  • The technology behind the systems, including data types recoverable and extraction techniques.
  • We will cover best practice on vehicle recovery.
  • Considerations for CSI examinations.
  • Evidencing the data and potential disclosure issues.


Our Expert

Noel Lowdon is a former Detective who is qualified in forensic collision investigation, PIP accredited, Advanced Suspect Interviewing together with Vehicle System Forensics, Bosch Crash Data, Road Death Review as well as over 17 years operational experience in a variety of roles in the Police.

For more details follow the link to our Vehicle Digital Forensics Course.

Disclosure of Unused Material – A Cause for Training

disclosure of unused material

Pt.2 Workload >  | Pt.3 – The Game >>

Our Investigation Skills Trainer, Kylie Wilson, who is also an experienced mentor for trainee investigators shares her thoughts on the current issues around disclosure of unused material.  Kylie’s experiences focus on Police Officers, but this applies equally to anyone who investigates and prosecutes Criminal Offences.


Pt.1 – Training – Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 (CPIA)

If you ask for hands up at the beginning of a training session on CPIA as to who understands it there is usually a nervous giggle and a wholesale lack of hands in the air. Ask what CPIA actually stands for and some will give it a go but generally no more than that. Ask what it actually means to them and you may get disclosure of unused material and possibly some of the R’s (Relevant, Retain, Record, Review, Respond & Reveal).

The main area that is lacking however, is any element of understanding of the ‘pursue all reasonable lines of inquiry, whether these point towards or away from the suspect’ aspect. This important requirement is somewhat buried, being found in the Codes of Practice which accompany the statute.

There is still a wholesale lack of understanding around disclosure obligations mostly rooted in a lack of straightforward training. To paraphrase the then Attorney General Lord Goldsmith he said it was all about “fairness” this is the overriding and longstanding rule since back in Common Law times.

I have seen officers be redeployed from front line response only policing to crime investigators with absolutely no training who are expected to just get on with it, a lot of them making mistakes with CPIA because they didn’t know they had to do something in the first place.

I have seen officers receiving Defence Statements who ask the question ‘do I just file it?’ another officer who had a withdrawal statement from a burglary where the victim was no longer sure the person they identified was the person who had been charged (and was currently on remand), when the question was asked how long they had the statement for, the answer was a couple of weeks. I nearly choked on my cuppa.

There was absolutely no malice in either and just luck they voiced their uncertainty, so redress and education were swift.


disclosure of unused material


These were cases of lack of knowledge and the officers not knowing what they didn’t know. The thoughts they have that perhaps they should be doing something is quickly overtaken by the next urgent response call that they get sent to and now the paperwork is at the bottom of their drawer until they have passed the response deadline, as a result they are now failing at disclosure.

The officers are supposedly taught CPIA during their outsourced Certificate of Knowledge in Policing (CKP) and as such some forces do not then further teach disclosure during the Initial Police Learning and Development Programme (IPLDP). Given the wide chasm between the effectiveness of one provider to another this is something of a dangerous assumption.

Further to that some forces do not develop this area further during the journey to becoming a detective, some Initial Crime Investigators Development Programmes (ICIDP) do not include CPIA training. I fail to see how any of these courses can be delivered without CPIA as it is a thread that starts at the beginning of any investigation and effectively the ‘ongoing duty to disclose’ never ends.

As such, training has become big business for external companies, I myself having left the Police over 4 years ago have never been busier, delivering training to some 26 out of the countries Police Forces. Training departments have been cut to the bone and it is cheaper to bring in external trainers to deliver courses.

We’ll follow with Part 2 next week looking at the strain Detective Constables are under in the current climate.

To find out what training Sancus can provide for your organisation follow the link to our Page.

Are You An Accountable Officer?

What does it mean to be “Accountable” within the legislation?


According to the English Oxford dictionary “Accountable” is to be responsible, required to account for one’s conduct; explicable.


It is true to say that the latest NHS re-organisation has been one of the biggest and most disruptive that it’s staff have gone through in recent years. Much of the experience and organisational memory has been lost due to management cuts, with long standing employees leaving the service.


But what is this to you, the current, statutory Controlled Drugs Accountable Officer (CDAO)? Would this make a good defence if your organisation was caught not complying with the law?


A paper was released in February (from the Department of Health’s policy team) outlining an operating model for NHS England Local Area Teams with regards to The Controlled Drugs (Supervision of Management and Use) Regulations 2013.


The regulations make clear that NHS England must ensure that systems are in place for the safe and effective management and use of CDs and that these systems are working effectively.


Local Intelligence Networks

NHSEngland must formally determine how many Local Intelligence Networks (LINs) there are to be and how many lead CD Accountable Officers, based in the Local Area Teams (LAT), are required to cover them


Regulation 8(4) places a requirement on each LAT to nominate or appoint a fit, proper and suitably experienced person to be its CDAO in respect of each of its LIN areas. It is NOT possible for the LAT CDAO to “contract out” their primary roles and functions to another organisation such as a


Commissioning Support Unit.

The LAT CDAOs are responsible for establishing and leading LINs drawn from the representatives of designated and responsible bodies.

The LIN should also consider how to engage Professional Regulators including the General Pharmaceutical Council along with Local Medical Committees, Local Pharmaceutical Committees and NHS Protect (formerly NHS Counter Fraud). They should also have links to the Business Services Authority

Commissioning Services

It is important to highlight that as well as having a responsibility for the system wide arrangements for the supervision of management and use of controlled drugs, the LAT is also a commissioner and as such will wish to ensure that any person, or those organisations commissioned with providing relevant services on their behalf, must establish and operate appropriate arrangements for securing safe management and use of CDs and that those systems are reviewed as appropriate as described in regulation 11.

Clinical Commissioning Groups

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are not required to appoint a CDAO but are required to assist the relevant LAT CDAO. It is good practice for the CCG to nominate a relevant individual within the CCG who will act as a focal point for liaison with the LAT CDAO, bringing in others as appropriate

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are required to assist their lead CDAO in the following ways;

  • Provide full support to the CDAO (LAT) in any investigation.
  • Report all complaints involving controlled drugs
  • Report all incidents or concerns involving the safe use and management of CDs to the CDAO
  • Share all standard operating procedures in relation to the management of CDs.
  • Analyse the prescribing ePACTdata
  • Supply periodic self–declaration and self-assessment to the LAT CDAO as requested.

Destruction of CDs

The LAT CDAO, will be responsible for overseeing CD arrangements in community pharmacies and dispensing practices. The CDAO will need to ensure there are sufficient, fully trained witnesses to avoid build-up of expired or unwanted stock of CDs. Any person authorised to witness destruction by a lead CDAO should continue to be subject to a professional code of ethics, have received appropriate training and be independent of the day to day use or management of CDs.


The regulations state that the organisation employing the CDAO must provide the necessary funds and other resources for the CDAO to discharge their responsibilities in accordance with the Regulations.

To this end, NHS England has made available £1.6 million per year.

This will provide the following

  • The equivalent of one WTE 8a post to support the LAT CDAO in managing the LIN, gathering and chasing CD quarterly reports from organisations, ensuring that there are sufficient trained witnesses for CD destruction and assisting with the production of the CDAO Area Team annual report.
  • The equivalent of 0.2 WTE pharmaceutical expertise at 8d. This person is likely to be the LAT CDAO and will provide the clinical expertise around the Supervision of management and use of controlled drugs.

The Controlled Drug (Supervision of Management and Use) Regulations have been in place since January 2007. The updated Regulations became formal on 1st April 2013, six months on, where are you up to???


You are responsible and required to account for your conduct with regards to the implementation of these Regulations. Can you explain what you have put in place and your plans going forward?


Gail Curphey is one of the presenters of the Sancus Accountable Officer Training Course. The next course is running at Kings College London on the 7th & 8th October 2014. To book your place follow this link