In R (Cousins-Chang) v (1) Secretary of State for the Home Department and (2) The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2013] EWHC 982 (Admin) the Court ruled Code C of PACE to be unlawful insofar as it allows 17 year-olds in police detention to be treated as adults.

This post, which originally appeared as an article in Police Professional examines the implications for police forces of the Police (Property) Act 1897, civil claims for damages, potential pitfalls and practical steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of claims.

Police forces seize and retain huge quantities of property each year. Real problems can arise when property is retained for longer than necessary. The rise in value of electronic items and computers seized makes this a significant area of financial risk – a fact that many forces have not yet fully grasped.

The statutory machinery for seeking the permanent detention of assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 or the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 is normally the domain of a force’s financial investigators and it is not addressed in this article.

As the civil courts are being exhorted to take an ever more stringent stance on proportionality, the recent Court of Appeal decision in Lorenzo v The Chief Constable of the West Midlands [2012] EWCA Civ 1863 is a timely reminder of the importance of providing a cautious, realistic time estimate for civil jury trials. It contains a number of other painful lessons to be learned for jury trial preparation.

In R (on the application of Monger) v Chief Constable of Cumbria [2013] EWHC 455 (Admin) the Administrative Court found that Cumbria Police’s decision to dismiss a Special Constable for misconduct matters was unlawful because the procedure in the applicable Police (Conduct) Regulations 2008 was not followed.

In Baker v Police Appeals Tribunal [2013] EWHC 718 (Admin) the Administrative Court refused to deprive an officer the benefit of a mistake made by the PAT when the PAT attempted to correct that mistake after it was “functus officio”.

In Alleyne v The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2012] EWHC 3955 (QB) the High Court awarded damages to a householder accidentally injured during a forced entry by multiple police officers executing a search warrant.

In ZH v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis [2013] EWCA Civ 69 the Court of Appeal found that the police had acted unlawfully, violated an autistic boy’s human rights and discriminated against him by not having proper regard to his condition.

In the second of a two-part article for Police Professional George Thomas and Cecily White examine procedures and safeguards that may assist in establishing an appropriate standard for the investigation of all stalking allegations following a review of the existing criminal and civil law relating to stalking.

In the first of a two part article for Police Professional George Thomas and Cecily White examine how recent legal developments make a review of the existing criminal and civil law relating to stalking timely.

In R (Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis) v Central Criminal Court & (1) Guilfoyle & (2) Crown Prosecution Service [2013] EWHC 179 (Admin) the High Court quashed an order purporting to lift a sex offender’s notification requirements as the Central Criminal Court had no power to make the order.

In AKJ & others v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis & others [2013] EWHC 32 (QB) the High Court determined the appropriate tribunal to try various claims brought by political activists who allege they were deceived into entering sexual relationships with undercover police officers.  

By Oliver Williamson (who appeared in this case with John Beggs QC)

The Administrative Court has given important guidance on the interpretation of Regulation 21 of the Police (Conduct) Regulations 2008 in R (Bonnard) v Drusilla Sharpling & Cleveland Police Authority [2012] EWHC B24 (Admin).

A search warrant application before the magistrates’ court can take a matter of minutes; the search itself a matter of hours. But when a claim is brought against the police for the way in which a warrant was obtained or executed, the consequence can be long, drawn out and costly litigation. Police forces risk paying out compensation for trespass to property, breach of Article 8 and malicious procurement of a search warrant.

On 22 November 2012 the Police (Complaints and Conduct) Bill had its first reading in the House of Commons. You can follow the progress of the Bill, which is being fast tracked through Parliament, here. Introducing the Bill the Home Secretary said:

“I have today published fast-track legislation that will enable the IPCC to conduct a thorough, transparent and exhaustive investigation into the Hillsborough disaster…. These enhancements are being made at the request of the IPCC and will ensure they can investigate the conduct of the police at Hillsborough in depth and without delay….” 

From Sunday 25 November 2012, two new offences have come into existence in England and Wales relating to stalking. There is also a new power of entry and search for the summary stalking offence.

The offences are introduced into the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 by s.111 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.

Section 2A of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 (‘the Act’) creates the offence of Stalking (a summary only offence), while s.4A creates the offence of “Stalking involving fear of violence or serious alarm or distress”, triable either way. The new offences do not criminalise behaviour that was previously lawful, but are targeted at the particular type of harassment that also constitutes stalking.

In the second article for Police Professional by members of the Serjeants’ Inn Police Team Debra Powell and Susanna Rickard, argue that, in wake of recent cases, there needs to be clear guidance for joint working between police and health services for the care of people suffering from mental disorder.

The Divisional Court has required the Director of the Serious Fraud Office to pay the Claimants’ costs on an indemnity basis following their successful challenge to search warrants obtained by the SFO.

The High Court has given a significant ruling in J, R (on the application of) v The Chief Constable of Devon & Cornwall [2012] EWHC 2996 (Admin) concerning what information should or, as in this case, should not be disclosed by the police on an Enhanced Criminal Records Certificate (ECRC).

In X (South Yorkshire) v Secretary of State for the Home Department & Anor [2012] EWHC 2954 (Admin), the Administrative Court has declared that, in certain limited respects, the Child Sex Offender Disclosure (CSOD) Scheme affords insufficient protection to a convicted child sex offender’s right to privacy under ECHR Article 8. There were two aspects of the CSOD Guidance that caused the Court concern.

In R (Cubells) v IPCC [2012] EWCA Civ 1292, the Court of Appeal heard an appeal from Simon J’s refusal of a renewed application for permission to claim judicial review of the IPCC’s decision to reject Mr Cubells’ appeal against Greater Manchester Police’s (GMP’s) determination of his complaint.

The Government has now laid before Parliament amended Regulations dealing with the procedures for police conduct, performance and rules covering appeals to the Police Appeals Tribunal. The changes are due to come into effect on 22nd November 2012.

A commentary on the principle changes to each of these regimes will follow in the coming days. In the meantime, links to the Rules and Regulations are set out below:

Police Appeals Tribunal Rules 2012

The Police (Performance) Regulations 2012

The Police (Conduct) Regulations 2012

After reading our case update on Stewart & Green, one of our readers contacted the editor and brought an important, but unreported, judgment to our attention.

The Azelle Rodney Inquiry is a public inquiry into the death of Mr Rodney, who was shot by a police officer during a “hard stop” on 30 April 2005. A public inquiry chaired by Sir Christopher Holland was set up because of the need to consider “secret evidence”, which could not be disclosed to a Coroner or explored before a jury in an Article 2 ECHR compliant Coroner’s Inquest.

Members of the Serjeants’ Inn Police Team write a monthly Legal Update for Police Professional. By agreement with the editors, the UK Police Law Blog will bring you our Team’s Police Professional articles one month after they appear in print.

In this article, published on 13 September 2012, John Beggs QC and James Berry analyse the Court of Appeal’s decision in Salter v Chief Constable of Dorset [2012] EWCA Civ 1047 which contains important guidance on the approach that police misconduct panels and the PAT should take to sanction (or “outcome”) in cases of dishonesty. John and James appeared for the Chief Constable of Dorset in the Court of Appeal and in the Administrative Court in what was the first successful judicial review challenge to a decision of the PAT.

The Government is considering proposals to open police misconduct hearings to the public. Presently the usual rule is that police misconduct hearings are held in private, pursuant to regulation 32 of the Police (Conduct) Regulations 2008.