Recent Judicial Decisions

Date01 March 2004
Published date01 March 2004
AuthorWilliam J Priestley
Subject MatterRecent Judicial Decisions
Legal Correspondent
Remit and Operation of Police Appeals Tribunal
The Queen on the application of the Chief Constable of Avon
and Somerset v The Police Appeals Tribunal
High Court of Justice, Queens Bench Division,
Administrative Court
February 2004
Police appeals tribunal; procedural guide on informants;
requirement to resign; Secretary of State’s guidance;
burden of proof; mitigation; disobeying orders
This was an application seeking a judicial review of a decision of
the Police Appeals Tribunal substituting a f‌inancial penalty in
lieu of a pervious decision made by the Chief Constable to
require an off‌icer to resign from the force.
The statutes
Section 85 of the Police Act 1996 provides, by subsection (1)
A member of a police force who is dismissed, required to
resign or reduced in rank by a decision taken in proceedings
under regulations made in accordance with section 50(3)
may appeal to a police appeals tribunal against the decision
except where he has a right of appeal to some other person;
and in that case he may appeal to a police appeals tribunal
from any decision of that other person as a result of which he
is dismissed, required to resign or reduced in rank.
Subsection (2) provides:
Where a police appeals tribunal allows an appeal it may, if it
considers that it is appropriate to do so, make an order
dealing with the appellant in a way –
(a) which appears to the tribunal to be less severe than the
way in which he was dealt with by the decision appealed
against, and
The Police Journal, Volume 77 (2004) 63
(b) in which he could have been dealt with by the person
who made that decision.
Subsection (3) enables the Secretary of State to make rules as to
the procedure on appeals to police appeals tribunals.
Section 87, subsection (1) states:
The Secretary of State may issue guidance to police author-
ities, chief off‌icers of police and other members of police
forces concerning the discharge of their functions under
regulations made under section 50 in relation to the matters
mentioned in subsection (2)(e) of that section, and they shall
have regard to any such guidance in the discharge of their
Section 50(2)(e) is a general section giving power to make
regulations for the government, administration and conditions of
service of police forces.
Subsection (2)(e) enables regulations to be made to make
provision with respect to the conduct, eff‌iciency and effective-
ness of members of police forces and the maintenance of
The facts
Police Constable Hopes faced f‌ive charges relating to relation-
ships with informants. Three of the charges alleged that PC
Hopes failed to abide by the procedural guide on informants and
therefore was acting in contravention of his duties. The other two
charges were as follows. First, PC Hopes was not open and
truthful in his dealings and failed to discharge his duties with
integrity. The incident referred to was one in which PC Hopes
had made a contemporaneous notebook entry which purported to
record details of a meeting with an informant, when in fact the
entry was made in an already completed notebook and referred
to a much earlier event. Second, PC Hopes disobeyed the order
of a detective inspector, who told him that he was not to make
contact with an informant and that if the informant rang he was
to make an excuse and not talk to him again.
As to the f‌irst three charges, the failure to follow the
procedural guide was admitted for all three occasions. The
Tribunal did not consider these three charges serious enough to
warrant a separate penalty from the other two and so it concen-
trated on the f‌inal two charges in its deliberations.
With regard to the charge concerning the notebook entry the
facts are as follows: PC Hopes completed a ‘Restricted Intelli-
64 The Police Journal, Volume 77 (2004)

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