Referrals to CPS in case of assault / unlawful detention

[name removed] made this Freedom of Information request to Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

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Dear Metropolitan Police Service (MPS),

On the date of this question how many individuals were based in Richmond-upon-Thames Police empowered to decide whether or not to refer allegations and evidence of assault and wrongful arrest to the Crown Prosecution Service?

What guidance is available from the Crown Prosecution Service in respect of whether to refer such cases? Are there any previous decisions cited by the Crown Prosecution Service to guide police officers in their decision on whether to refer in such cases? If so please give an outline of these.

What are the duties on a police officer empowered with the decision to refer such cases to the CPS to explain decisions for non-referral to a complainant and to discuss the same with a complainant?

Does the Metropolitan Police consider that there may be cases where it acceptable for shop security personnel to use force to detain suspected shoplifters for the purpose of searching where the security personnel do not possess police powers or certain knowledge that the suspected person has committed or is committing theft? If so is the degree of force considered acceptable related to the degree of suspicion?

In a case where an employee of a retailer who is also an off-duty special constable approaches a suspected shoplifter who refuses to agree to a voluntary search does the Metropolitan police consider that such refusal may furnish sufficient grounds for suspicion of theft to justify that employee placing themselves ‘on duty’ in order to exercise their power of search?

Yours faithfully,

[name removed] [name removed]

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

Dear Mr. [name removed]

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2012020003935
I write in connection with your request for information which was received
by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 24/02/2012.  I note you seek
access to the following information:

"On the date of this question how many individuals were based in
Richmond-upon-Thames Police empowered to decide whether or not to refer
allegations and evidence of assault and wrongful arrest to the Crown
Prosecution Service?    

What guidance is available from the Crown Prosecution Service in respect
of whether to refer such cases? Are there any previous decisions cited by
the Crown Prosecution Service to guide police officers in their decision
on whether to refer in such cases? If so please give an outline of these.
   

What are the duties on a police officer empowered with the decision to
refer such cases to the CPS to explain decisions for non-referral to a
complainant and to discuss the same with a complainant?    

Does the Metropolitan Police consider that there may be cases where it
acceptable for shop security personnel to use force to detain suspected
shoplifters for the purpose of searching where the security personnel do
not possess police powers or certain knowledge that the suspected person
has committed or is committing theft? If so is the degree of force
considered acceptable related to the degree of suspicion?    

In a case where an employee of a retailer who is also an off-duty special
constable approaches a suspected shoplifter who refuses to agree to a
voluntary search does the Metropolitan police consider that such refusal
may furnish sufficient grounds for suspicion of theft to justify that
employee placing themselves ‘on duty’ in order to exercise their power of
search? "

Your request will now be considered in accordance with the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 (the Act).  You will receive a response within the
statutory timescale of 20 working days as defined by the Act, subject to
the information not being exempt or containing a reference to a third
party.  In some circumstances the MPS may be unable to achieve this
deadline.  If this is likely you will be informed and given a revised
time-scale at the earliest opportunity.

Some requests may also require either full or partial transference to
another public authority in order to answer your query in the fullest
possible way. Again, you will be informed if this is the case.

COMPLAINT RIGHTS

Your attention is drawn to the attached sheet, which details your right of
complaint.

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please
contact me quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely

R. Loizou
Policy and Support Officer
COMPLAINT RIGHTS

Are you unhappy with how your request has been handled or do you think the
decision is incorrect?

You have the right to require the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to
review their decision.

Prior to lodging a formal complaint you are welcome and encouraged to
discuss the decision with the case officer that dealt with your request.  

Ask to have the decision looked at again –

The quickest and easiest way to have the decision looked at again is to
telephone the case officer that is nominated at the end of your decision
letter.

That person will be able to discuss the decision, explain any issues and
assist with any problems.

Complaint

If you are dissatisfied with the handling procedures or the decision of
the MPS made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) regarding
access to information you can lodge a complaint with the MPS to have the
decision reviewed.

Complaints should be made in writing, within forty (40) working days from
the date of the refusal notice, and addressed to:

FOI Complaint
Public Access Office
PO Box 57192
London
SW6 1SF
[email address]

In all possible circumstances the MPS will aim to respond to your
complaint within 20 working days.
The Information Commissioner

After lodging a complaint with the MPS if you are still dissatisfied with
the decision you may make application to the Information Commissioner for
a decision on whether the request for information has been dealt with in
accordance with the requirements of the Act.

For information on how to make application to the Information Commissioner
please visit their website at www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk.
 Alternatively, phone or write to:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Phone:  01625 545 700

Total Policing is the Met's commitment to be on the streets and in your
communities to catch offenders, prevent crime and support victims. We are
here for London, working with you to make our capital safer.

 

Consider our environment - please do not print this email unless
absolutely necessary.

NOTICE - This email and any attachments may be confidential, subject to
copyright and/or legal privilege and are intended solely for the use of
the intended recipient. If you have received this email in error, please
notify the sender and delete it from your system.  To avoid incurring
legal liabilities, you must not distribute or copy the information in this
email without the permission of the sender. MPS communication systems are
monitored to the extent permitted by law.  Consequently, any email and/or
attachments may be read by monitoring staff. Only specified personnel are
authorised to conclude any binding agreement on behalf of the MPS by
email. The MPS accepts no responsibility for unauthorised agreements
reached with other employees or agents.  The security of this email and
any attachments cannot be guaranteed. Email messages are routinely scanned
but malicious software infection and corruption of content can still occur
during transmission over the Internet. Any views or opinions expressed in
this communication are solely those of the author and do not necessarily
represent those of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

Dear  Mr [name removed]

Freedom of Information Request Reference Number: 2012020003935

I write in connection with your request for information which was received
by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 24th February 2012. I note you
seek access to the following information:

"1) On the date of this question how many individuals were based in
Richmond-upon-Thames Police empowered to decide whether or not to refer
allegations and evidence of assault and wrongful arrest to the Crown
Prosecution Service?

2) What guidance is available from the Crown prosecution Service in
respect of whether to refer such cases?

3) Are there any previous decisions cited by the Crown Prosecution Service
to guide police officers in their decision on whether to refer in such
cases?  If so please give an outline of these.

4) What are the duties on a police officer empowered with the decision to
refer such cases to the CPS to explain decisions for non-referral to a
complainant and to discuss the same with a complainant?

5) Does the Metropolitan Police consider that there may be cases where it
acceptable for shop security personnel to use force to detain suspected
shoplifters for the purpose of searching where the security personnel do
not possess police powers or certain knowledge that the suspected person
has committed or is committing theft?  If so is the degree of force
considered acceptable related to the degree of suspicion?

6) In a case where an employee of a retailer who is also an off-duty
special constable approaches a suspected shoplifter who refuses to agree
to a voluntary search does the Metropolitan police consider that such
refusal may furnish sufficient grounds for suspicion of theft to justify
that employee placing themselves 'on duty' in order to exercise their
power of search?"

EXTENT OF SEARCHES TO LOCATE INFORMATION

To locate the information relevant to your request searches were conducted
at the Territorial Policing Headquarters - TP Criminal Justice, the
Metropolitan Special Constabulary and Volunteers Operational Command Unit,
the Directorate of Professional Standards and Richmond Borough Operational
Command Unit.

RESULT OF SEARCHES

The searches located some information relevant to your request.

DECISION

I have today decided to disclose the information relating to questions 1,
3 and 6 to you in full. Some information relating to questions 2 and 4 has
been disclosed and some is being refused under section 21(1) of the Act as
it is already in the public domain. Recorded information relating to
question 5 is not held by the MPS.

REASON FOR DECISION AND INFORMATION

Question 1

On the date of this question how many individuals were based in
Richmond-upon-Thames Police empowered to decide whether or not to refer
allegations and evidence of assault and wrongful arrest to the Crown
Prosecution Service?  

Wrongful arrest is a civil matter and would not be referred to the CPS.
Assault would depend on degree or severity of assault. Common Assault is
not referred, ABH s47 OAPA and above are. On the date in question there
were five (5) Evidential Review Officers (ERO) on duty in Richmond and
three (3) Duty Officers in the rank of Inspector.

Question 2

What guidance is available from the Crown Prosecution Service in respect
of whether to refer such cases?

If the allegations of assault and wrongful arrest were made as part of a
complaint against police the allegations would be investigated by the
Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS). DPS investigations are
governed by the Police Reform Act 2002, the Police (Conduct) Regulations
2008 and the IPCC Statutory Guidance. If the allegations were part of a
criminal case and the assault constituted an ABH or above the MPS would
use the CPS Code for Prosecutors, the DPP's Guidance on Charging
(available on the CPS website) and Sentencing guidelines (available on the
Sentencing Council's website) for guidance before referral. Where the
assault constitutes a Common Assault or a Battery the charging decision is
made by the Police using above documents for guidance.

Please find the internet links below to the Police Reform Act 2002, the
Police (Conduct) Regulations 2008, the IPCC Statutory Guidance, the CPS
Code for Prosecutors, the DPP's Guidance on Charging and the Sentencing
Council's Sentencing Guidelines.

Police Reform Act 2002:
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2002...

Police (Conduct) Regulations 2008:
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2008/...

IPCC Statutory Guidance:
http://statguidance.ipcc.gov.uk/Pages/de...

CPS Code for Prosecutors:
http://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/docs/...

DPP's Guidance on Charging:
http://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/direc...

Sentencing Guidelines:
http://sentencingcouncil.judiciary.gov.u...

Question 3

Are there any previous decisions cited by the Crown Prosecution Service to
guide police officers in their decision on whether to refer in such cases?
 If so please give an outline of these.

All information relating to charging decisions in criminal cases and CPS
guidance is held with the documents named and linked to above.

Question 4

What are the duties on a police officer empowered with the decision to
refer such cases to the CPS to explain decisions for non-referral to a
complainant and to discuss the same with a complainant?

If the allegations constitute a complaint against police and the duty
officer is unable to resolve it locally, it would be referred to DPS for
their investigation and action. The complainant would be informed of the
result of the investigation at end of process but the CPS is not
necessarily involved.

ERO's making referral decisions in criminal cases would record their
rationale on a form called an MG3. However, if it was decided that no
further action was to be taken at any stage, that decision could be made
by ERO, Officer In Charge (OIC) or another officer of supervising rank. If
the complainant was also a suspect on Bail they would be informed when
their Bail is cancelled; if the complainant is the victim the Victims'
Code of Practice requires that they are informed of the decision taken.  

Please see the link to the Victims' Code of Practice below:
http://www.cps.gov.uk/victims_witnesses/...

Question 5

Does the Metropolitan Police consider that there may be cases where it
acceptable for shop security personnel to use force to detain suspected
shoplifters for the purpose of searching where the security personnel do
not possess police powers or certain knowledge that the suspected person
has committed or is committing theft? If so is the degree of force
considered acceptable related to the degree of suspicion?

The MPS holds no recorded information regarding this question.

Question 6

In a case where an employee of a retailer who is also an off-duty special
constable approaches a suspected shoplifter who refuses to agree to a
voluntary search does the Metropolitan police consider that such refusal
may furnish sufficient grounds for suspicion of theft to justify that
employee placing themselves 'on duty' in order to exercise their power of
search?

A Special Constable is defined as being 'on duty' only:
       

* When actually performing duty on the instructions of an officer of
regular rank where the duty is being performed;

* When off duty in circumstances that require them to exercise their
powers as a Constable. In these circumstances the IBO must be
contacted through the Central Communications Command in order that the
relevant MSC Manager (regular Police Sergeant) is notified as soon as
it is practicable to do so. In addition, a report of any such act must
be made as soon as possible to the MSC Manager.

The power for an MSC officer to put themselves on duty must ONLY be
exercised in situations when it is in the interests of the public that
police powers should be assumed.  

If an incident occurs whilst a Special Constable is off duty, they should
dynamically risk assess the situation and having taken due regard for
their personal safety and that of the public consider what action is
appropriate. This may include making an arrest, providing witness
evidence, calling police or other emergency services and/or rendering
practical help.  

Section 16 - Advice and assistance

Under Section 16 of the Act we have the duty to advise and assist you with
your request.

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 creates a statutory right of access to
recorded information held by public authorities. A public authority in
receipt of a request must, if permitted, confirm if that public authority
holds the requested information and, if so, then communicate that
information to the applicant.

As explained, there is no recorded information which answers Question 5 of
your request.

However, information relating to a citizen's power of arrest is contained
within section 24A of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) and
information relating to the use of force is contained within section 3(1)
Criminal Law Act 1967.  

Please see a link to section 24A of PACE below:
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1984...

Please see the link to section 3(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1967 below:
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1967...

Please also see CPS guidance relating to self defence and the use of force
which may be of interest:
http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/self_...

Section 14 - Vexatious requests

We are aware that you have submitted numerous requests to the MPS on
Special Constables, therefore please be advised that any future requests
that you submit on this subject area may be considered vexatious in
accordance with Section 14 of the Act.

COMPLAINT RIGHTS

If you are dissatisfied with this response please read the attached paper
entitled Complaint Rights which explains how to make a complaint.  

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please
contact Deborah Solomon on 0207 161 4291 or at the address at the top of
this letter, quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely

Head of TP Criminal Justice
Territorial Policing Headquarters

Legal Annex

Section 17(1) of the Act provides:

(1) A public authority which, in relation to any request for information,
is to any extent relying on a claim that any provision in part II relating
to the duty to confirm or deny is relevant to the request or on a claim
that information is exempt information must, within the time for complying
with section 1(1), give the applicant a notice which-

(a) states the fact,
(b) specifies the exemption in question, and
(c) states (if that would not otherwise be apparent) why the exemption
applies.

Section 21(1) of the Act provides:

(1) Information which is reasonably accessible to the application
otherwise than under section 1 is exempt information
COMPLAINT RIGHTS

Are you unhappy with how your request has been handled or do you think the
decision is incorrect?

You have the right to require the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to
review their decision.

Prior to lodging a formal complaint you are welcome and encouraged to
discuss the decision with the case officer that dealt with your request.  

Ask to have the decision looked at again –

The quickest and easiest way to have the decision looked at again is to
telephone the case officer that is nominated at the end of your decision
letter.

That person will be able to discuss the decision, explain any issues and
assist with any problems.

Complaint

If you are dissatisfied with the handling procedures or the decision of
the MPS made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) regarding
access to information you can lodge a complaint with the MPS to have the
decision reviewed.

Complaints should be made in writing, within forty (40) working days from
the date of the refusal notice, and addressed to:

FOI Complaint
Public Access Office
PO Box 57192
London
SW6 1SF
[email address]

In all possible circumstances the MPS will aim to respond to your
complaint within 20 working days.
The Information Commissioner

After lodging a complaint with the MPS if you are still dissatisfied with
the decision you may make application to the Information Commissioner for
a decision on whether the request for information has been dealt with in
accordance with the requirements of the Act.

For information on how to make application to the Information Commissioner
please visit their website at www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk.
 Alternatively, phone or write to:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Phone:  01625 545 700

Total Policing is the Met's commitment to be on the streets and in your
communities to catch offenders, prevent crime and support victims. We are
here for London, working with you to make our capital safer.

 

Consider our environment - please do not print this email unless
absolutely necessary.

NOTICE - This email and any attachments may be confidential, subject to
copyright and/or legal privilege and are intended solely for the use of
the intended recipient. If you have received this email in error, please
notify the sender and delete it from your system.  To avoid incurring
legal liabilities, you must not distribute or copy the information in this
email without the permission of the sender. MPS communication systems are
monitored to the extent permitted by law.  Consequently, any email and/or
attachments may be read by monitoring staff. Only specified personnel are
authorised to conclude any binding agreement on behalf of the MPS by
email. The MPS accepts no responsibility for unauthorised agreements
reached with other employees or agents.  The security of this email and
any attachments cannot be guaranteed. Email messages are routinely scanned
but malicious software infection and corruption of content can still occur
during transmission over the Internet. Any views or opinions expressed in
this communication are solely those of the author and do not necessarily
represent those of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).

 

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