Anne Studd QC and Robert Talalay successfully appear in judicial review proceedings in R (G) v Chief Constable of Surrey Police

Anne Studd QC and Robert Talalay successfully appeared for the Chief Constable in judicial review proceedings challenging the administering of two reprimands for sexual offending and the legality of the scheme of retention and disclosure under the relevant guidance, the Police Act 1997 and the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 obliging the Chief Constable to disclose the reprimands.

Following a police investigation into claims of consensual sexual dares between two boys under 10 years old and G, who was 12 years old for the majority of the relevant time, G was issued with two reprimands for attempted anal penetration of a child under 13. The reprimands were issued following advice from the CPS. G’s mother was informed at the time that the reprimands would stay on the police computer for 5 years or until he was 18 years old. This was wrong as given the nature of the offence,  under the Guidance in force at the time, they would stay on his record for 10 years before being stepped down. In 2009, the policy changed so that they would remain on his record indefinitely or until he was 100 years old. In May 2013, following the Court of Appeal decision in R (T ) v Chief Constable of Manchester [2013] 1 WLR 2515, the system again changed so the majority of one-time offenders’ convictions, cautions and reprimands would not be disclosable in a criminal records check; however, this did not apply to G’s reprimands due to the seriousness of the nature of the offence. The 2013 system was successfully challenged in R (on the application of P and A) v Secretary of State for Justice [2016] EWHC 89 (Admin), where the Divisional Court held that the current scheme was not in accordance with the law.

The Claimant challenged the decision of the Chief Constable not to expunge the reprimands under the Exceptional Case Procedure on the grounds that they had been administered unlawfully and the 2nd and 3rd Defendants on the basis that the scheme governing disclosure of reprimands since 2013 was not in accordance with the law and was disproportionate. Blake J, held that the issue of the reprimands had been lawful and, as such, the case did not fall within the Exceptional Case Procedure. He further found that the fact that G’s mother had been misled as to how long the reprimands would remain in force was irrelevant as the issuance of reprimands did not require consent. Blake J then considered the legality of the scheme of disclosure and, finding himself bound by P and A, held that the current scheme under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and the Police Act 1997 was not in accordance with the law.