Jason Beer QC and Robert Talalay appear in the Divisional Court for the NPCC in R (R) v The National Police Chiefs’ Council & Anor [2017] EWHC 2586 (Admin)

Jason Beer QC and Robert Talalay  appeared in the Divisional Court for the National Police Chiefs’ Council in a judicial review concerning the retention and use of cautions and convictions in an employment context. The Claimant challenged the NPCC’s 2015 Policy on ‘Deletion of Records from National Police Systems’ (which contains the record deletion process) and also against the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975. The basis of the challenge was that the retention and disclosure of the Claimant’s reprimand for shoplifting when 13 years old was contrary to her art.8 ECHR rights. At the hearing, the Court also considered the ACPO Vetting Policy 2012 and the legality of the decision of South Wales Police to reject the Claimant’s application to become a member of police staff on the sole basis of her reprimand.

 

In respect of the issue of retention and disclosure of criminal record data on the PNC, the Court did not make any adverse findings in respect of the NPCC’s 2015 policy on retention. However, the Court did find against the Secretary of State that the 1975 Order was unlawful as it contained a blanket rule that all convictions and cautions should be available to a decision maker when considering vetting an applicant for the role of police constable.

 

In respect of the issue of the use to which the Claimant’s reprimand was put, the Court found that the decision by South Wales Police to reject the Claimant’s application for a staff role on the basis of her reprimand was unlawful both as being contrary to the 1975 Order and as being contrary to art.8 ECHR. The Court also found that the “Convictions and Cautions Criteria – Recruitment Vetting and NPPV Levels 2 and 3”, which formed part of the ACPO Vetting Policy 2012, was unlawful as being contrary to art.8 ECHR. However, the impact of the Court’s decision on this issue is likely to be lessened given that Parliament has this month approved new APP from the College of Policing on how forces should approach vetting applicants.