In R (Short) v (1) Police Misconduct Tribunal (2) Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Police  EWHC 385 (Admin), Mr Justice Saini delivered a resounding reaffirmation that misconduct hearing panels are well able to put irrelevant and prejudicial matters out of their minds rather than having to recuse themselves and that they are able to determine their own procedures, just like civil courts and tribunals.
The case of R (Bridges) v Chief Constable of South Wales Police & Information Commissioner  EWHC 2341 (Admin);  1 WLR 672 is said to have been the first claim brought before a court anywhere on planet earth concerning the use by police of automated facial recognition (“AFR”) technology. There could be nothing wrong with posting scores of police officers with eidetic memories to look out for up to a 800 wanted persons at public gatherings. So why not use a powerful computer, capable of matching 50 faces a second with a database of (under) 800 suspects, to do this job much more cheaply and instantaneously, flagging any matches to a human operator for final assessment? According to the Divisional Court in Bridges, this may, depending on the facts of each particular deployment, be lawful.
In R (AB) v Chief Constable of Hampshire Constabulary  EWHC 3461 (Admin), the Divisional Court considered a claim on behalf of a boy with severe learning and communication disabilities, that police had failed properly to investigate what appeared to be a disclosure by him of a sexual assault during a stay at in respite care. He argued that they had wrongly proceeded to interview him despite no witness intermediary being available and had subsequently failed to re-interview him with an intermediary. He argued that this was a breach of Article 3, and unlawful disability discrimination. The Court dismissed the claim, also giving important procedural guidance.
In LXD and Ors v Chief Constable of Merseyside Police  EWHC 1685 (Admin), the Administrative Court found that the police had not breached its obligations under Articles 2, 3 and 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998 in its response to a threat to kill LXD and her children. Dingemans J, as he then was, encouraged mediation where the recipient of such a threat sought to challenge the adequacy of the police’s risk assessment or the protective measures that the police have put in place. The judge also questioned the appropriateness of a claim for judicial review being brought in these circumstances, which are likely to involve disputes of fact.
The Administrative Court has quashed a misconduct panel’s decision to impose a final written warning on the basis that the panel failed to follow the correct approach outlined in the College of Policing’s Guidance on Outcomes in Police Misconduct Proceedings (“the Guidance”): R (Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police) v Police Misconduct Panel (HHJ Pelling QC, 13 November 2018). The case is on Westlaw but not Bailii. It is, however, a case of considerable importance. It states that when reaching a decision on disciplinary sanction, a panel must not only follow a structured approach to its decision making but show that it has done so in its written reasons.