5 May 2014

James Berry provided evidence to the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee on Police and Crime Commissioners’ (PCCs’) powers to suspend and remove Chief Constables and the role of Police and Crime Panels in scrutinising PCCs. His submission can be found here [insert link to attached document].

James’ evidence was quoted in the Home Affairs Committee’s Report “Police and Crime Commissioners: progress to date” which can be found here.

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.

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.

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.

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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.

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