Police Law Blog European Decisions Statutory Materials

Indefinite retention of DNA profile, fingerprints and photographs of a convicted motorist contrary to article 8

The European Court of Human Rights court held in Gaughran v United Kingdom [2020] ECHR 144 that the police’s indefinite retention of DNA profile, fingerprints and photographs of person convicted of a minor offence without a possibility of review constituted an infringement of Article 8 ECHR (respect for private life). This is the latest in a number of cases where the ECtHR has disagreed with a decision of the Supreme Court and represents a further development of the meaning of “private life”.

The quickly mutating Coronavirus legislation – drafting anomalies and police powers

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 at reg 6(1) create a prohibition against leaving one’s home without reasonable excuse rather than being outside one’s home without reasonable excuse. Not only is that narrower than many people had thought, it shapes the powers of a police constable to direct or remove people to their home, which depends upon the constable considering that they have breached reg 6(1). Furthermore, in criminal proceedings for a breach, it may be that the burden of establishing of the defence of reasonable excuse is on a defendant in Scotland but on the prosecution in the other three home nations.

Lockdown Regulations made: restrictions and police powers

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 were made at 1pm on 26 March 2020 and are now in force. They contain sweeping restrictions never before seen in peacetime in the United Kingdom. They apply to England only and expire in 6 months. They revoke and replace the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closure) (England) Regulations 2020 – leaving the business closures in place.

What powers does “take such action as is necessary to enforce” give to police officers?

The powers in the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closure) (England) Regulations 2020 allow a constable to “take such action as is necessary to enforce a premises closure or restriction”. The powers in the Coronavirus Act 2020, schedule 22 (formerly schedule 21 in the Bill) are to enforce a restriction or prohibition on gatherings or events and to close and restrict access to premises during a public health response period. Again, it will allow a constable to “take such action as is necessary to enforce such a restriction, prohibition or closure”. But what does the phrase, “take such action as is necessary to enforce…” mean?

The Coronavirus Bill – police powers explained

The almost 330-page Coronavirus Bill 2020 was published on Thursday 19 March 2020 and is likely to become law on Thursday 26 March. It will contain a 6-month sunset clause but may be renewed. The key parts of the Bill from the point of view of policing are Schedule 20 – which deals with powers relating to potentially infected persons – and Schedule 21 – which deals with powers to restrict events, gatherings and premises. This article provides a summary of the police powers and duties. They may change in the light of the Prime Minister’s televised national address on the evening of Monday 23 March.