Section 60 and the Supreme Court

Date01 June 2016
Published date01 June 2016
Subject MatterArticles
Section 60 and the
Supreme Court
Neil Parpworth
Leicester De Montfort Law School, De Montfort University,
Leicester, LE, UK
Unlike many other statutory stop and search powers, s. 60 of the Criminal Justice and
Public Order Act 1994 allows for suspicionless searches in certain circumstances.
Although originally intended for use in relation to football-related violence, the power
has often been exercised in connection with knife crime and gang violence. Despite
controversy surrounding its use, the s. 60 power has rarely featured in legal proceedings.
Accordingly, this article considers a legal challenge brought against the power which has
now been heard in the Divisional Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.
The unanimous view of each court that s. 60 is compatible with the ECHR is significant.
However, it need not necessarily be the last judicial word on the matter.
Stop and search; suspicionless power; legal challenge; Article 8 of the ECHR; in accor-
dance with the law
Police constables who exercise the power in s. 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public
Order Act 1994 are able to conduct suspicionless stop and searches. In other words,
whereas most stop and search powers require an officer to reasonably suspect that an
individual is in possession of a relevant item in order to be able to search him or her, e.g.
a controlled drug (see s. 23(2) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971) or a firearm (see s. 47(3)
of the Firearms Act 1968), under s. 60, it is enough that at the relevant time an author-
isation is in place which relates to the locatio n where the search is undertaken. An
authorisation by an officer of the rank of inspector or above can only be granted if he
Corresponding author:
Neil Parpworth, Leicester De Montfort Law School, De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester,
LE1 9BH, UK.
The Police Journal:
Theory, Practice and Principles
2016, Vol. 89(2) 174–184
ªThe Author(s) 2016
Reprints and permission:
DOI: 10.1177/0032258X16641425

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