The Supreme Court in R (AR) v CC Greater Manchester Police  UKSC 47 upheld the inclusion of information in an enhanced criminal record certificate (ECRC) that a person had been acquitted of rape. The judgment shows the importance of chief officers considering with great care the various factors in order to strike a fair balance between the rights of the individual applying for the ECRC as opposed to the wider rights of the community, including vulnerable persons.
Dogs and property throw up some of the more unusual and difficult issues on which a police lawyer is asked to advise. In the decision of Henderson v Comr of Police of the Metropolis  EWHC 666 (Admin) and the subsequent costs decision at  EWHC 1092 (Admin), the court visited two issues – the standing of a person to intervene in a case concerning the destruction of a potentially prohibited breed and kennelling costs during the course of an appeal by way of case stated/judicial review to the High Court.
R (Birks) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis  EWHC 807 (Admin) is the case of an officer who wanted to resign in order to take up a position as a minister in the Church of England. He was suspended and not permitted to resign, so that the IPCC (as it then was) could investigate his conduct in connection with the arrest of Sean Rigg who died in custody at Brixton Police Station in 2008.
Before the “former officer” provisions were introduced by the Police (Conduct, Complaints and Misconduct and Appeal Tribunal) (Amendment) Regulations 2017, the IPCC could investigate the conduct of an officer, serving or retired but a case to answer decision and disciplinary proceedings could only be taken in relation to a serving officer. In 2003, the Home Secretary issued guidance (Circular 55/2003) to the effect that the power to suspend could be used to prevent a resignation and thereby ensure the completion of disciplinary proceedings. If an officer was suspended, they had to seek the permission of their Chief Officer to resign or retire.
In PC Birks’ case, his resignation had been accepted by the Metropolitan Police in 2014, notwithstanding the new IPCC investigation. But this acceptance was rescinded, under pressure from the IPCC and Mr Rigg’s sister – and PC Birks was suspended precisely to prevent him from resigning. PC Birks first challenged this in a judicial review claim. He alleged that that being required to remain a police officer breached Article 8 (privacy) and Article 9 (religion) of his Convention Rights. Further, that it amounted to an unlawful departure from a substantive legitimate expectation because the Metropolitan Police had already accepted his resignation.
In R (on the application of Richards) v Chief Constable of Cleveland Police (UKSC 2017/0090) the Supreme Court has refused permission to appeal against the imposition of a tagging requirement in a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (“SOPO”). The undisturbed judgment of the Court of Appeal in R (on the application of Richards) v Teesside Magistrates’ Court  EWCA Civ 7;  1 WLR 1695 endorses (and perhaps extends) the purpose and effect of imposing qualified restrictions on sex offenders.
Publication of misconduct investigation reports can give rise to difficult and important questions, particularly in cases where there has been no misconduct hearing because there has been a determination of “no case to answer”, or because the accused officer has resigned or retired.
To my knowledge there is no provision in the Police Reform Act 2002, Police (Conduct) Regulations 2012 or related regulations which compels police forces to publish misconduct investigation reports; nor is there an express power to do so, voluntarily. But the question of publication may well arise as a result of a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“FOIA”). The FOIA of course establishes the general right of access to information held by public authorities, including Police and Crime Commissioners and police forces, upon written request, subject to exemptions.