An Opportunity to Make Police Accountability Mechanisms More Meaningful: Which way will the Supreme Court go?

by Clare Torrible, University of Bristol Law School

The Supreme Court’s is currently considering one of the most important cases for police accountability this Century. Stemming from the fatal police shooting of Jermaine Baker in 2015, R (on the application of Officer W80) v Director General of the Independent Office for Police Conduct and others (W80) concerns the correct test for determination of whether officers’ use of force against citizens may amount to misconduct. The point in issue is whether (as the IOPC is arguing) misconduct may be found where the use of force was not “necessary, proportionate and reasonable in all the circumstances” (the objective test) or whether instead, (as various police stakeholders maintain) misconduct should be limited to occasions when the officer did not honestly believe that the force was necessary at the time it was used (the subjective test). (more…)

Why the police in England and Wales must do more than just learn lessons

by Clare Torrible, University of Bristol Law School
Sandor Szmutko | Shutterstock


Police accountability is crucial to trust and confidence in the police. Quite what form that accountability should take, though, is a matter of debate.

Isolated incidents of excessive force may correctly be seen as culpable and requiring disciplinary action. Others might more appropriately be interpreted as indicating that training is needed. The question, then, is whether the aim of good and fair policing is best served by greater emphasis on officers being sanctioned or on them learning lessons. (more…)