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In Catt v United Kingdom [2019] ECHR 76, the European Court departed from and disagreed with the Supreme Court, holding that the police's collection and retention of data of a peaceful protestor was an unlawful interference with article 8 of the Convention.

Mr Catt was a 94-year-old man from Brighton; a peaceful protestor who regularly attended public demonstrations since 1947. In 2005, he began attending demonstrations held by ‘Smash EDO’. Although there was often serious disorder and criminality at Smash EDO’s protests, Mr Catt only ever attended in a peaceful capacity and was never charged with anything.

In 2010, he made a ‘subject access request’ to the police, to identify what records, if any, they held on him. The police disclosed sixty-six entries identifying his attending protests between 2005 and 2009. Some were EDO Smash protests, many were other protests. All of these records were held on the police’s “Extremism Database”.

The Association of Chief Police Officers, ‘ACPO’, refused to delete the entries on Mr Catt. They failed to give any reasons for this refusal, and so Mr Catt judicially reviewed ACPO’s decision. In so doing, he claimed a breach of his article 8 right to privacy.

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In R (CL) v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester & Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWHC 3333 (Admin), the Divisional Court held that the retention by the police of crime reports which related to sexting incidents in which a schoolboy had allegedly been involved did not breach his rights under Article 8 ECHR.

The decision confirmed that the retention of data by the police in accordance with the prevailing regulatory and statutory data protection framework and relevant guidance was in accordance with the law for the purposes of Article 8(2) whether the alleged offender was an adult or a child.

The duty to have regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children did not mandate the deletion of data: the best interests of any children concerned was a primary, but not determinative, consideration.

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A defendant cannot defend himself from prosecution for breach of a Community Protection Notice (‘CPN’), on the basis that the CPN is invalid. The reason, stated in Stannard v The Crown Prosecution Service [2019] EWHC 84 (Admin), is that there is an effective means to challenge the CPN - either by exercising the right of statutory appeal or by judicial review. Allowing a challenge to the validity of the CPN at trial is not what the relevant statute (the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, ‘the 2014 Act’) intends, nor is it an effective remedy because the person subject to a CPN should not be required to breach a CPN in order to exercise a right to challenge it.

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In Bennett v Chief Constable of Merseyside [2018] EWHC 3591 (Admin), the High Court confirmed that a district judge was correct to make no order for costs against the police after it withdrew its Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (‘POCA’) s.298 application for cash forfeiture. In considering the decision of the district judge, the High Court reaffirmed three points: the starting point is that no order for costs should be made provided that the public authority has acted reasonably and properly; in determining whether the police acted reasonably and properly, the court should scrutinise the behaviour of the police with care; and it may be justifiable to award costs against the police, particularly where the successful private party would suffer substantial hardship if no order for costs were made in their favour.

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In Griffiths v (1) Chief Constable of Suffolk (2) Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust [2018] EWHC 2538 (QB), the High Court dismissed claims that the Chief Constable and the NHS Trust were negligent in breaching their duties of care or had breached human rights. The case is interesting for reaffirming three points:

(i) the law will generally not impose liability on a defendant for failing to prevent harm caused by someone else;

(ii) obligations under Article 2 (right to life) or Article 3 (prohibition of torture) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) will not arise where the institution does not know of a real risk that those rights would be breached; and

(iii) where there is a protective duty in respect of ECHR, Articles 2 or 3, a breach of Article 8 (respect for private and family life) cannot succeed where Articles 2 or 3 are not themselves breached.

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The new Investigatory Powers Tribunal Rules 2018 came into force on 31 December 2018, revoking the 2000 rules: See here. The 2018 rules apply to all section 7 Human Rights Act 1998 proceedings before the Tribunal and all covert investigatory powers complaints under section 65 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, including those which were made before the new rules came into force.

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The case of R (Application of the Centre for Advice on Individual Rights in Europe) and (1) Sec State Home Dept (2) Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2018] EWCA 2837 (Civ) holds that police officers have the power to do anything that an ordinary citizen can do.

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The latest decision of the Court of Appeal in Parker v Chief Constable of Essex Police [2018] EWCA Civ 2788 is important for all police lawyers. The facts are quite detailed but, essentially, where the police perform an unlawful arrest (which would result in unlawful detention), the arrested person will receive only nominal damages where they could and would have been lawfully arrested had the correct procedures been followed.

There is also a second element – which is that the question of whether the police have a reasonable suspicion for the purpose of making an arrest ought to be considered in the round; courts ought not to over-compartmentalise the issue by analysing each factor separately.

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The PACE Codes of Practice are available on the Home Office site, on a recently updated page. It states the most recent version of each Code, together with previous versions of the codes and the dates they came into force. The page is here: 

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/police-and-criminal-evidence-act-1984-pace-codes-of-practice.

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The Home Office has issued revised Guidance on the use of covert surveillance or human intelligence sources by public authorities under part 2 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2000.

The codes of practice also provide guidance on entry or interference with property or wireless telegraphy by public authorities under section 5 of the Intelligence Services Act 1994 or part 3 of the Police Act 1997.

The link to the documents is here

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