In Sarjantson v Chief Constable of Humberside Police [2013] EWCA Civ 1252 the Court of Appeal found that the police owed a duty under Article 2 to take reasonable steps to respond to a 999 call reporting that a group of youths were attacking someone, regardless of whether the victim was identified or identifiable to the police.

In Finnigan v Chief Constable of Northumbria Police [2013] EWCA Civ 1191 the Court of Appeal found that when police officers wants to carry out a search a deaf person’s home, they have to make reasonable adjustments by considering what is reasonable for deaf persons as a class rather than the deaf person whose home is being searched.

In Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co (Europe) Ltd & Ors v Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime [2013] EWHC 2734 (Comm) the Court decided that damage to a warehouse and the goods within it caused during the 2011 riots fell to be compensated under the Riot Damages Act 1886, but that consequential losses of profit and rent were not recoverable.

In R (Chief Constable West Yorkshire Police) v IPCC & Armstrong [2013] EWHC 2698 the Divisional Court found that an IPCC report, which concluded that a police officer had behaved unlawfully, had gone beyond the statutory ambit for IPCC reports, was unlawful, and so was quashed.

In R (TD) v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis & Secretary of State for the Home Department [2013] EWHC 2231 (Admin) the Divisional Court found that the retention of an “NFA’d” complaint of sexual assault by the Claimant on police databases for 9 years was not, on the facts of the case, a disproportionate interference with the Claimant’s Article 8 rights.

In Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis v Police Medical Appeal Board and David Walther [2013] EWHC 1203 (Admin) the Court gave further guidance on the assessment of police injury awards where an underlying degenerative condition has been affected by an injury on duty. The Court concluded that an approach based on acceleration or aggravation is not appropriate. If, at the time when the question is referred to the Selected Medical Practitioner there is a disablement which is permanent, and if the duty injury caused or substantially contributed to that disablement at that time, the right to receive an injury award arises.

In R (on the application of A) v Chief Constable of Kent [2013] EWHC 424 (Admin) the Court decided that the Defendant’s disclosure, in an enhanced criminal records check [“ECRC”], of allegations of neglect and ill-treatment made against a nurse, was unlawful and amounted to a breach of Article 8 ECHR. The wrong legal test was applied by the Defendant and the allegations had been shown to be unreliable (and had not been acted on by a number of bodies).

In Mengesha v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2013] EWHC 1695 (Admin) the High Court made explicit some of the limitations on how people who have been lawfully contained may be treated, in particular the imposition of conditions for their release.

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.

The IPCC has launched a consultation on the way it investigates deaths during and after contact with police. The IPCC is consulting on a number of issues including how the IPCC investigates:

  • deaths in police custody;
  • deaths during or following police contact;
  • road traffic fatalities;
  • fatal shootings;
  • apparent suicides following police contact; and
  • other deaths following police contact.

Our cut off date for police-related legal developments on the UK Police Law Blog was 1 August 2012. This decision was handed down on 1 August 2012 (and it has been a quiet summer / early autumn since then).

In R (Chief Constable of the Derbyshire Constabulary) v Police Appeals Tribunal & Green & Stewart [2012] EWHC 2280 (Admin) it was established that:

  • A Regulation 21 Notice should set out which of the Standards of Professional Behaviour the officer is alleged to have breached
  • A misconduct panel can consider Standards other than those specified in the Regulation 21 Notice if appropriate procedural safeguards are put in place (eg. adjournments so that the officer can consider the new allegations)
  • The PAT’s power under Rule 4(4)(a) of the PAT Rules 2008 is limited to a review of the misconduct panel’s findings. The PAT does not conduct a rehearing. While not strictly a Wednesbury review, the appellant must establish that the misconduct panel’s findings were “unreasonable”

Section 23 of the Police Act 1996 provides for chief officers of 2 or more police forces to make arrangements to discharge their police functions jointly where it appears to the chief offices that those functions can be discharged more efficiently or effectively on a joint basis.

On 1 October 2012 the National Police Air Service was launched, in what is understood to be the first use of s.23 of Police Act 1996 to underpin national collaboration arrangement. Until October, air support was delivered locally by 30 Police Air Support Units. By the time NPAS is implemented in full in January 2015, it will provide for a unified air service comprising 25 aircraft based at 23 strategic locations. ACPO anticipates that this move will generate a saving of up to £15 million per year. See: http://www.acpo.presscentre.com/Press-Releases/National-Police-Air-Service-is-launched-1a8.aspx 

Cases involving the police throw up some of the most interesting issues for lawyers across a whole variety of areas of law. But decisions handed down by the Courts often contain important guidance for police officers. For instance in a recent case on search warrants, the High Court declared that “The necessary foundation for the issue of the warrants should be on the face of the information unless there are good reasons for not including it there. Police practice to the contrary should be changed forthwith.” But how many police officers were (until now) aware of this stern edict? And how many officers had read the Court’s judgment.

At the UK Police Law Blog we aim to keep police officers and those who advise them up to date with key decisions affecting their work – especially where the Courts provide guidance. We will also report on important changes in legislation and statutory guidance affecting the police. We won’t be blogging about criminal law (generally) – just “civil” police law.

All of the bloggers at the UK Police Law Blog are barristers at 3 Serjeants’ Inn Chambers. We have consistently been recognised as a leading set of barristers chambers. We have a top tier Police Team that has been representing police forces and police officers in the whole spectrum of police-related litigation as well as providing operational advice for over 20 years.

You can follow the UK Police Law Blog on Twitter at: @ukpolicelawblog

You can also read our legal column in Police Professional, which will appear on the UK Police Blog a month after it appears in print.

Finally…we need your help. Our editors will be scouring the internet for police-related legal developments, but if you find any that we have missed please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have any difficulties with the UK Police Law Blog or any suggestions, which are always welcome.