QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
1 Oxford Row
B e f o r e :
| R (MICHAEL JOSEPH PETERS)
|- and -
|THE CHIEF CONSTABLE OF WEST YORKSHIRE POLICE
Ian Skelt (instructed by West Yorkshire Legal Services) for the Defendant
Hearing date: 1 May 2014
Crown Copyright ©
Mr Justice Blair :
"I went to the club and I saw a male just behind the entrance door. I now know this male to be Michael Peters b. 28/12/1984. PC Flood remained outside talking to Mr Mohammed but I could see him through the open door. I asked Mr Peters why he had refused to pay his bill. As he was talking to me I could tell Mr Peters was drunk. He was unsteady on his feet, his speech was slurred, his eyes were glazed and he smelt very heavily of intoxicants. Mr Peters stated that he was refusing to pay the 20% surcharge on the bill. I was trying to explain to him that the manager had agreed he could just pay for the drinks that he had drunk and not the surcharge. Mr Peters kept interrupting me and was not listening to what I was saying. As he was talking he was gesturing towards me with his hands. His voice was getting raised to the point of shouting. At over 6ft tall Mr Peters was moving closer to me and he was towering over me as I am only 5ft 4" tall. His voice was shouting as he was talking over me as I tried to reasonably explain the situation. He got closer and I started to feel intimidated by him so I moved back slightly to give more space between myself and Mr Peters."
"The CCTV footage of the arrest of Mr Peters is inconclusive because it does not have any audio capability. The footage supports Mr Peters' claim that he was not acting in a disorderly manner in the presence of the officers because he does indeed stand 3 to 4 feet from PC Jenkins with his hands mostly in his pocket. Mr Peters is not being physically disorderly. However; it is not possible to hear what was being said and whether there was any disorderly conduct by words only.
PC Flood is stood by an open door and it is evident that he would probably have been able to hear the conversation between Mr Peters and PC Jenkins.
The statements of PC Flood and Jenkins do not contain any evidence that they witnessed Mr Peters was being verbally abusive just that he was being "loud" and that would not normally justify an arrest for being drunk and disorderly. The officer's statements relate very accurately what happened on the CCTV and nothing more than that so it perhaps easy to see why a charge of D&D was not pursued."
"The statements of PC's Flood and Jenkins accurately relate what they saw on the 2nd of March, 2012. The statements are very close to the CCTV footage in terms of the chain of events that led to Mr Peters' arrest. The only discrepancy perhaps being the distance between PC Jenkins and Mr Peters as perceived by the officers.
There is no evidence that the officers fabricated their evidence or perjured themselves in court. If this had been the case the judge would have highlighted this and the officers would have been in serious trouble."
The applicable provisions
Honesty and Integrity: Police officers are honest, act with integrity and do not compromise or abuse their position. (Statutory guidance issued under the Police Act 1996 elaborates on this standard and specifies that: Police officers do not knowingly make any false, misleading or inaccurate oral or written statements or entries in any record or document kept or made in connection with any police activity.)
Authority, Respect and Courtesy: Police officers act with self-control and tolerance, treating members of the public and colleagues with respect and courtesy. Police officers do not abuse their powers or authority and respect the rights of all individuals.
Duties and Responsibilities: Police officers are diligent in the exercise of their duties and responsibilities. (The statutory guidance elaborates on this standard and includes: Police officers ensure that accurate records are kept of the exercise of their duties and powers as required by relevant legislation, force policies and procedures.)
Discreditable conduct: Police officers behave in a manner which does not discredit the police service or undermine public confidence in it, whether on or off duty.
"(1) Subject to paragraph (6) the appropriate authority shall assess whether the conduct which is the subject matter of the allegation, if proved, would amount to misconduct or gross misconduct or neither."
"(a) gather evidence to establish the facts and circumstances of the alleged misconduct or gross misconduct; and
(b) assist the appropriate authority to establish whether there is a case to answer in respect of misconduct or gross misconduct or whether there is no case to answer."
"(a) provide an accurate summary of the evidence,
(b) attach or refer to any relevant documents, and
(c) indicate the investigator's opinion as to whether there is a case to answer in respect of misconduct or gross misconduct or whether there is no case to answer."
"shall, as soon as practicable, determine whether the officer concerned has a case to answer in respect of misconduct or gross misconduct or whether there is no case to answer."
"(a) a right of appeal on the grounds that he has not been provided with adequate information
(i) about the findings of the investigation; or
(ii) about any determination of the appropriate authority relating to the taking (or not taking) of action in respect of any matters dealt with in the report on the investigation;
(b) a right to appeal against the findings of the investigation;
(ba) a right of appeal against any determination by the appropriate authority that a person to whose conduct the investigation related has a case to answer in respect of misconduct or gross misconduct or has no case to answer ;
(c) a right of appeal against any determination by the appropriate authority relating to the taking or not taking of action in respect of any matters dealt with in the report.
In this case it is not in dispute that the claimant's appeal was made under paragraphs 25(2)(b) and (ba).
"(5) On an appeal under this paragraph, the [relevant appeal body] shall determine [such of the following as it considers appropriate in the circumstances]
(a) whether the complainant has been provided with adequate information about the matters mentioned in sub-paragraph (2)(a);
(b) whether the findings of the investigation need to be reconsidered;
(c) whether the appropriate authority
(i) has made such a determination as is mentioned in sub-paragraph (3)(za) [or (zb)] that the relevant appeal body considers to be appropriate in respect of the matters dealt with in the report, and
(ii) has determined that it is required to or will, in its discretion, take the action (if any) that the [relevant appeal body] considers to be so appropriate; and
(d) whether the conditions set out in paragraph 24(2A) and (2B) are satisfied in respect of the report." [When it is determined that criminal offences may have been committed]
The parties' contentions
Discussion and conclusion
"(1) The question for the police investigation is whether the allegations made in the complaints have been established on the balance of probabilities, taking account of proportionality: Muldoon §18 and Crosby (cited in Muldoon) at §41.
(2) The IPCC's appeal procedure is by way of review; in considering the question under paragraph 25(5)(b) of Schedule 3, the IPCC's task is to ensure that, following a proportionate investigation, an appropriate conclusion has been reached by the police investigation: Muldoon §§18, 24. Was the conclusion in the police investigation one which was fair and reasonable?
(3) An IPCC appeal decision is not expected to be "tightly argued" - nevertheless the conclusion should be clear and the reasons readily understandable: Dennis §20.
(4) The function of the Court on an application for judicial review of an IPCC appeal decision is confined to the question whether the IPCC has reached a decision which was fairly and reasonably open to it, even if the court might have reached a different conclusion. IPCC decisions involve matters of judgment and the court will allow the IPCC a discretionary area of judgment: Muldoon §§19, 40.
(5) Where the IPCC upholds the decision of the police investigation, the question for the Court involves an element of "double rationality": was the decision of the IPCC that the decision of the police investigation was fair and reasonable itself fair and reasonable? The question is not whether the Court would necessarily have reached the same conclusion as the police or the IPCC, nor whether it can be seen with hindsight that an error may have been made (Muldoon §§24, 34)."