Police officers across England and Wales do an incredibly difficult job, in some instances having to make life or death decisions in a split second to keep us safe. It is vital that the public and officers have clarity and confidence in the accountability system relating to police use of force and police driving, including the efficacy of investigations.
Successive Governments have referred to the need to consider the balance between ensuring the police can do their job to keep the public safe, while ensuring operational guidelines are complied with and officers act within the law.
On 24 September I announced a Home Office-led review to assess the existing legal frameworks and guidance on practice that underpin police use of force and police driving, and the framework for investigation of any incidents that may occur. It will examine:
Whether use of force or police driving frameworks provide clear, understandable and well understood guidance for officers;
Whether a lack of clarity or the frameworks themselves in any way inhibit or prevent the police from carrying out their role to protect life;
Whether they serve to maintain public confidence in the police, in particular for those impacted by police use of force;
How the UK meets its obligation to independently investigate situations where a death or serious injury (DSI) results from an incident involving law enforcement;
Whether necessary lessons have previously been understood and acted upon after historic incidents; and
Whether individuals are held to account appropriately.
I am pleased to announce that today we will publish the terms of reference for the review on www.gov.uk. A copy of the terms of reference will also be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
These make it clear that the review will not consider live or ongoing investigations or proceedings. The need to ensure it does not in any way prejudice or interfere with ongoing or concluded investigations or proceedings is paramount. To that end, the Home Office will keep under consideration any potential effect of the review on such investigations or proceedings.
The review will be co-ordinated by the Home Office, reporting to me and working with other Government Departments such as the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney General’s Office. It will aim to provide findings to me by the end of year.