Police Power to Remove Young Person Was Coercive ; TUESDAY LAW REPORT

Article excerpt

16 MAY 2006

Regina (on the application of W) v Metropolitan Police Commissioner and another ([2006] EWCA Civ 458)

Court of Appeal, Civil Division (Sir Igor Judge, President of the Queen's Bench Division, Lord Justice May and Lord Justice Wal) 11 May 2006

A coercive power was attached to the word "remove" in section 30(6) of the Antisocial Behaviour Act 2003.

The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner and Richmond-upon-Thames London Borough Council against a decision that the power to remove in section 30(6) of the Anti- social Behaviour Act 2003 was permissive, and not coercive.

Two dispersal areas were designated in Richmond-upon-Thames pursuant to section 30 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003, which provided:

If, between the hours of 9pm and 6am, a constable in uniform finds a person in any public place in the relevant locality who he has reasonable grounds for believing - (a) is under the age of 16, and (b) is not under the effective control of a parent or a responsible person aged 18 or over, he may remove the person to the person's place of residence unless he has reasonable grounds for believing that the person would, if removed to that place, be likely to suffer significant harm.

The claimant sought judicial review. It was contended before the Divisional Court on his behalf that, inter alia, section 30(6) did not authorise a constable to use reasonable force. The Divisional Court concluded that the power to remove in section 30(6) was permissive, not coercive. The defendants appealed.

Javan Herbergand Victoria Windle (Liberty)* for the claimant' Sam Grodzinski (Directorate of Legal Services for the Metropolitan Police and Richard Mellor) for the defendants' Timothy Otty (Treasury Solicitor) for the interested party, the Secretary of State for the Home Department.

Lord Justice May, handing down the judgment of the court, said that the word "remove" in section 30(6) carried with it a coercive power. …