The terms of a review looking at whether existing legislation on police use of force and driving provides sufficient protections for those in the line of duty, and maintains public confidence in policing, have been published today (24 October 2023).
The review, which was requested by the Home Secretary and will be coordinated by the Home Office, is expected to provide findings to Suella Braverman by the end of the year.
The first part of the review will assess whether the existing legal and regulatory framework that underpins police use of force and police driving offers the right protections to the police, particularly firearms officers. It will also examine if these frameworks are sufficient to maintain the public’s confidence in policing, particularly communities and families impacted by police actions.
The review will also consider the systems for investigating police officers, including referrals to the Independent Office for Police Conduct, especially in incidents where members of the public have been killed or injured, and whether cases involving those acting in the line of duty should be treated differently from other cases.
The timeliness of investigations and legal processes will also be looked into, including whether more effective working between the Independent Office for Police Conduct and the Crown Prosecution Service can reduce timescales of criminal investigations and whether there are options to reduce any duplications in criminal, coronial and misconduct processes.
Finally, the review will examine whether improvements need to be made to officer suspension and anonymity. This will look at communications following an incident and ask if they strike the right balance between providing clarity to officers and reassuring members of the public.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman said:
We depend on our brave police officers to put themselves in harm’s way in order to keep us safe.
It is one of the toughest jobs, relying on officers to make life or death decisions in a split second and we should never take it for granted.
It is why I requested this review to ensure the legal frameworks under which the police operate command the confidence of both officers and members of the public.
The Home Office will work with the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney General’s Office on this review and is clear that it will not impinge on the operational independence of the police and other relevant bodies in the criminal justice system. The review will also not consider ongoing investigations or live legal proceedings.