The debate on whether there is a difference between honesty and integrity continues apace in Rhys Williams v Solicitors Regulatory Authority [2017] EWHC 1478 (Admin). I expressed my opinion here that there was a material difference between the two and that the decision of Mostyn J in Malins v Solicitors Regulatory Authority [2017] EWHC 835 (Admin), that the two were synonymous, was not correct - at least for the purposes of the Police (Conduct) Regulations 2012. The Divisional Court (the President of the QBD presiding) has now similarly deprecated it.

The court has also restated the principles concerning the requirement that misconduct allegations be properly pleaded and put to witnesses - with a steer that panels should look to the substance rather than technicalities. 

Lavender J in MLIA & CLEL v Chief Constable of Hampshire [2017] EWHC 292 (QB) has offered helpful guidance on the application of the limitation defence for human rights claims, in a case which failed to meet the threshold for engaging the investigative duty under Articles 3 and 8 of the Convention.

The Claimants were a mother and daughter who had been victims of abusive, aggressive, violent and threatening behaviour perpetrated by the First Claimant’s former partner prior to November 2005. Following an order by Master McCloud that there should be a trial of liability, the issues before Lavender J were:

1. Whether the claim had been commenced within “such … period as the court … considers equitable having regard to all the circumstances” pursuant to section 7(5)(b) of the Human Rights Act 1998;

2. Whether Article 3 and/or Article 8 were engaged and, if so, whether the Defendant had acted in a manner which was incompatible with the duty imposed by those Articles, in particular by failing to investigate the Claimants’ allegations.

It sometimes vexes police lawyers – how the police can be a prosecutor for the purpose of malicious prosecution when it is the Crown Prosecution Service that makes the decision to prosecute. Further, it has not always been easy to identify what acts of officers can result in liability for misfeasance in a public office. In Rees v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis [2017] EWHC 273 (QB), Mitting J explained both of these - disagreeing with some previous cases and explaining others.

The judgment in Re Ward of Court [2017] EWHC 1022 (Fam) answers with a resounding “no”, the question of whether the court’s consent is required before the police can interview a ward of court. A simple point, one might think, but there was, according to Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division, a “startling lack of clarity in the law” on this issue [5].

The recent decision of the High Court upon an application for judicial review of a Police Medical Appeals Board (‘PMAB’) decision in the case of R (Fisher) v (1) Chief Constable of Northumbria (2) PMAB [2017] EWHC 455 (Admin) highlights the pitfalls in the assessment of a former officer’s uninjured earning capacity when reviewing the level of an injury pension under regulation 37 of the Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006.

A recent decision from the High Court in Chief Constable of Thames Valley v Police Misconduct Panel [2017] EWHC 923 (Admin) says that misconduct panels can now be judicially reviewed by Chief Constables - but gives rise to a number of new and potentially awkward questions.

Whether a Chief Constable had standing to apply for judicial review against a decision of a misconduct hearing panel had not, until now, been a question that anyone wanted to ask.  Before the recent advent of legally qualified chairs, hearing were presided-over by either an Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) or a Deputy Chief Constable. Plainly, it would have been (almost) unthinkable for a Chief Constable to seek to bring a judicial review against a decision that one of their own chief officers had made. 

Another month, another decision on the meaning of honesty and integrity. Given that the Standard of ‘Honesty and Integrity’ is considered primus inter pares in relation to the other Standards, in that a breach of it puts an officer at serious risk of dismissal, what amounts to this is important – for officers and presenting authorities.

There has been a number of cases addressing this over the past couple of years. They have focused on the meaning of integrity as opposed to honesty – whether integrity is something different to honesty and, if so, whether it is measured subjectively or objectively. This post will suggest that integrity is something different to dishonesty and is measured objectively rather than subjectively.

Not a long post - just a short note about damages awarded in a recent police civil action of (1) Stewart (2) Chergui v The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2017] EWHC 921 (QB). Now updated to include the costs decision.

R (Duggan) v Asst Coroner North London and (1) Metropolitan Police Commissioner (2) Serious Organised Crime Agency (3) IPCC (4) DS Belfield (5) DC Faulkner (Interested Parties)  [2017] EWCA Civ 142 (judgment here

Mark Duggan’s fatal shooting by Metropolitan Police officers gave rise to widespread public disorder across the country. The inquest jury’s finding that the cause of death was “lawful killing” has, unsurprisingly, remained matter of public debate and given rise to several legal challenges.

Police officers who bring employment tribunal claims often seek disclosure of documentation prior to, or shortly after, the issuing their claim, by making a subject access request pursuant to Section 8 of the Data Protection Act 1998 in the hope that they may uncover information which assists their case. Responding to such requests can be difficult and time-consuming. The legislation is complex and, in the digital age, the sheer number of documents, which of course includes electronically held data, can be overwhelming. The question is often asked 'on what basis can the information be withheld?

The case of McCarthy v Chief Constable of Merseyside Police [2016] EWCA Civ 1257 provides an interesting analysis of the tort of battery, trespass ab initio and use of reasonable force relating to use of a taser in a policing context. The Court of Appeal judgments provide clear recognition of the difficulties and realities faced by police officers in the context of fast moving, violent incidents in which fine judgments are difficult and provide important guidance as to the correct factual and legal approach in such cases.

On some legal databases, it appears that paragraphs 19B-D of the Police Reform Act 2002 (PRA) have been repealed and that paragraph 19A has been replaced. The problem with this is (i) that the replacement provides for no severity assessment to be reformed and (ii) contrary to what appears on some legal databases, the paragraphs have not, actually, been repealed or replaced (yet). 

The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (Codes of Practice) (Revision of Codes C, D and H) Order 2017 came into effect on 27 February 2017. The Order brought into force three revised codes of practice under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (“PACE”), which supersede the pre-existing Codes of Practice. The revisions to Code C and Code H implement amendments to PACE made by the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 (“CJCA”), which defines a “juvenile” for the purpose of detention as a person who is under the age of 18, rather than under the age of 17. This now requires a 17 year-old to be treated as would be a 16 year-old rather than an adult of 18 years or over.

The Policing and Crime Act 2017 heralds significant change to the powers of police staff and volunteers, going beyond those of Police Community Support Officers. 

When the Act comes fully into force, the categories of employees with delegated powers will be streamlined from four to two: “community support officer” and “policing support officer”. The latter will cover the old categories of investigating, detention and escort officers. There are also two categories of volunteers: “community support volunteer” and “policing support volunteer”.

In relation to policing support officers and policing support volunteers, chief officers will be able to confer upon them any policing power, except for defined core powers. In other words, the position under the PRA of designation from a limited menu of powers will largely be reversed and staff could be designated with a wider variety of powers, duties and functions.

Mark Ley Morgan successfully acted for the Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police at first instance and on appeal in Frugal v Nottinghamshire Police [2017] EWCA Civ 86 - a civil action concerning arrest and detention.

Many police practitioners will pause on learning that they are instructed in a case involving an arrest for breach of the peace. The reason being - that the law on when an arrest can be made is not always well understood by arresting officers. That is not to be discourteous to the police. Rather, it is a recognition of how complicated this issue can be. The Supreme Court in the case of R (Hicks) v Comr Metropolitan Police [2017] UKSC 9 gives some assistance to the police where they seek to arrest persons in light of an imminent breach of the peace and provides a simpler statement of the law than did the Court of Appeal.

It is not uncommon for police officers to justify the necessity of an arrest by reference to PACE s24(5)(e) - to allow the prompt and effective investigation of an offence or the conduct of the person in question. The case of R (TL) v Chief Constable of Surrey [2017] EWHC 129 (Admin) considers the extent to which this permits arrest for the purpose of imposing bail conditions and conducting a search.

The value of a Coroner’s inquest in opening up matters to public scrutiny is clearly demonstrated by this highly unusual application by the Chief Executive of the IPCC in R (IPCC) v IPCC [2016] EWHC 2993 (Admin) who, following a searching inquest, brought proceedings against his own organisation to overturn its flawed report into police conduct.

The Police Appeals Tribunal should take care not to go behind clearly expressed statements made by police hearings tribunals. It should also take care as to the order of witnesses where hearsay evidence is being admitted: Squire v (1) The Queen (CC Thames Valley Police) (2) PAT [2016] EWCA Civ 1315.

Senior Coroners still smarting from being described as holding "a relatively lower judicial office” by Mr Justice Singh in the Norfolk Coroner v AAIB case last month have now been dealt a second blow by Cranston J when he made it very clear in Secretary of State for the Home Dept v Senior Coroner for Surrey [2016] EWHC 3001 (Admin) that not only are Senior Coroners, as a category, not among those able to see sensitive material related to issues of national security, but that the Secretary of State can rely upon the assertion of a general policy not to provide Coroners with such material and so does not have to provide any evidence that disclosure to the particular Coroner will in itself result in a real risk of serious harm to national security.