Joint Committee On Human Rights Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence



7. Memorandum from Helen Fenwick, Reader in Law, University of Durham

Thank you for your letter. Given the time scale and the fact that I am embroiled in teaching etc at the moment, I am afraid that I can make only brief comments. I have not yet had the time required to embark on a detailed critique of this lengthy Bill.

The provisions for an Independent Police Complaints Commission are obviously extremely significant. I was unconvinced that so many gaps had to be filled later by the use of subordinate legislation. It seemed to me that the involvement of the new Commission in actually investigating complaints was likely to be very limited so that the independent element was more minimal than I had hoped.

I thought that clause 44 was very broadly worded since the term "anti-social" behaviour is so broad. It seemed to me that s44 conflates police powers with substantive offences—an increasingly prevalent phenomenon which increases police powers greatly without providing proper safeguards against abuse. Also s44 may raise Article 6 issues regarding the "right to silence". The Brown case might suggest otherwise, but this provision lies in a different

and broader context.

I am concerned about the powers afforded to persons who are designated etc but are not police officers.

I am sorry that I have not the time—which I would like to have—to comment further on this very wide-ranging, cumbersome and in some respects controversial Bill, which brings together a range of quite disparate matters. If I can find the time I will elaborate on these comments.

6 February 2002

 


 
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