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Hello,

I’m fairly new to this country and as such am not overly familiar with the laws regarding police harassment. 

I’ve googled it a few times but have not been able to find an official .gov webpage which outlines exactly what does and does not qualify as police harassment.

Any advice or information you could provide would be greatly appreciated 

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Any advice on a specific area of law is from either currently-serving UK police officers, and is offered to the best of their ability, or from members of the public who are perhaps aspiring to be serving police officers and may not hold the necessary level of knowledge to provide such assistance or by any other member who may offer their opinion. Either way such advice can only be treated as an opinion and nothing more. Members should look for the Verified Members Badge that appears on the posters name as advice from members holding this badge are verified police employees. The information is based on their own individual experiences, expertise and training. It is stressed, however, that if any information or advice found in these forums is used by any person or organisation, then the respective police officer(s) and staff can not and will not take any responsibility for any outcome in any investigation in a criminal or civil enquiry. Any advice or opinion offered is to the best of the individuals knowledge and ability based on the information you have supplied, and we will stress that we will never be knowingly misleading or untruthful in content.

[*]Please note, we do not offer advice or assistance in order to avoid penalties that you have incurred or maybe pending. [*]Such requests are deemed to be of an Operational nature and against our main Forum Rules. [*]You should always seek Legal Advice from a Qualified Solicitor in the event of any impending prosecutions or other involved legal matter.

Administration Team UKPoliceOnline

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Yes. I read the disclaimer before posting. Thank you.

 

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Hello,
I’m fairly new to this country and as such am not overly familiar with the laws regarding police harassment. 
I’ve googled it a few times but have not been able to find an official .gov webpage which outlines exactly what does and does not qualify as police harassment.
Any advice or information you could provide would be greatly appreciated 

There is no such specific crime or misconduct as ‘police harassment’. Police officers are subject to the same laws as every other citizen and they must adhere to the police Code of Ethics.
You need to understand those or post a set of circumstances for opinion on what may be ‘police harassment’.


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I’m wondering specifically about intimidation tactics and at what point intimidation becomes harassment.

For clarity let’s go with this hypothetical situation.

Let’s say there is a routine stop and search and the person who is stopped co-operates fully by agreeing to the search, answering all questions, and providing identification.

The search doesn’t yield any proof of a crime having been committed but the officer present still believes that the person they stopped may be engaged in illegal activity and as such chooses to follow this person.

The person being followed tells the officer not to follow them and that doing so is making them uncomfortable.

The officer then informs this person that since the officer believes he or she might be engaged in illegal activity that the officer is well within their right to surveil.

Does that qualify as harassment under uk law and/or breach the aforementioned Code of Ethics?

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I’m wondering specifically about intimidation tactics and at what point intimidation becomes harassment.
For clarity let’s go with this hypothetical situation.
Let’s say there is a routine stop and search and the person who is stopped co-operates fully by agreeing to the search, answering all questions, and providing identification.
The search doesn’t yield any proof of a crime having been committed but the officer present still believes that the person they stopped may be engaged in illegal activity and as such chooses to follow this person.
The person being followed tells the officer not to follow them and that doing so is making them uncomfortable.
The officer then informs this person that since the officer believes he or she might be engaged in illegal activity that the officer is well within their right to surveil.
Does that qualify as harassment under uk law and/or breach the aforementioned Code of Ethics?

Hypothetically if the officer has reasonable belief of criminality and he is following in order to prevent or detect crime then he is doing nothing wrong.
Hypothetically if he does not suspect any criminality and just decided to follow the person around to annoy/harass/upset them then he is stalking them, which is an offence.


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What qualifies as “reasonable belief?”

Without any proof that a crime has or will be comitted than the officer is operating on suspicion alone.

Suspicion that is based on the appearance and/or behaviour of the person being followed which could be perceived as discriminatory under some circumstances if i’m not mistaken.

Certainly there must be a line somewhere that when crossed surveillance becomes stalking.

It’s just not terribly clear to  me where that line is.

Perhaps it’s intentionally vague specifically in the interest of preventing or detecting crime? 

On a side note: I posted some links earlier to both the College of Policing Code of Ethics pdf and the .gov page with the outline of the Prevention of Harassment Act but the moderators chose not to post it for some reason?

I’m curious why it wasn’t posted as nothing I said in that post struck me as offensive in any way. 

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5 hours ago, JKW said:

 

On a side note: I posted some links earlier to both the College of Policing Code of Ethics pdf and the .gov page with the outline of the Prevention of Harassment Act but the moderators chose not to post it for some reason?

I’m curious why it wasn’t posted as nothing I said in that post struck me as offensive in any way. 

You are a new user so first few posts will need mod approval.

What error messages are you getting when trying to post PDFs from CoP website?

Works perfectly fine for me as shown below.

http://www.college.police.uk/What-we-do/Ethics/Documents/Code_of_Ethics.pdf

 

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What qualifies as “reasonable belief?”
Without any proof that a crime has or will be comitted than the officer is operating on suspicion alone.
Suspicion that is based on the appearance and/or behaviour of the person being followed which could be perceived as discriminatory under some circumstances if i’m not mistaken.
Certainly there must be a line somewhere that when crossed surveillance becomes stalking.
It’s just not terribly clear to  me where that line is.
Perhaps it’s intentionally vague specifically in the interest of preventing or detecting crime? 
On a side note: I posted some links earlier to both the College of Policing Code of Ethics pdf and the .gov page with the outline of the Prevention of Harassment Act but the moderators chose not to post it for some reason?
I’m curious why it wasn’t posted as nothing I said in that post struck me as offensive in any way. 

It’s subjective. Without getting into the officer’s brain and knowing what he is thinking, including his previous knowledge and information you can’t tell.
The only thing for that to be tested is by some court or tribunal hearing who can gather all of the information and come to a reasonable conclusion.
Think of the case of Jean Charles de Menezes. He was a completely innocent man but the officers who followed him did nothing wrong.


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25 minutes ago, Fedster said:

You are a new user so first few posts will need mod approval.

What error messages are you getting when trying to post PDFs from CoP website?

Works perfectly fine for me as shown below.

http://www.college.police.uk/What-we-do/Ethics/Documents/Code_of_Ethics.pdf

 

The links I posted are as follows:

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1997/40/section/1 

and the link in your post to the pdf.

What puzzles me is why the post was censored as the links both worked perfectly fine.

As I don’t know who the moderators are I can’t speak for why the post wasn’t posted.

In particular, I qouted section 2.1 of the Code of Ethics, and section 1 of the Prevention of Harassment Act of 1997.

I also asked questions regarding the interpretation of these sections; questions, perhaps, that were perceived as inappropriate in some way though I can’t say I agree with that conclusion.

My impression of this forum was that it would be more impartial than perhaps it actually is.

Again, no knowing the moderators or their intentions it’s hard to say one way or another. Your guess is as good as mine.

 

 

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18 minutes ago, Reasonable Man said:


It’s subjective. Without getting into the officer’s brain and knowing what he is thinking, including his previous knowledge and information you can’t tell.
The only thing for that to be tested is by some court or tribunal hearing who can gather all of the information and come to a reasonable conclusion.
Think of the case of Jean Charles de Menezes. He was a completely innocent man but the officers who followed him did nothing wrong.


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That’s more or less what I thought, but I also thought there might be a more specific legal definition of what is or isn’t considered “reasonable”

Case law as you stated, and legal precedence would then be the best way of determining such a definition if one were trying to define it, if I understand you correctly.

So ultimately it’s up to a judge or series of judges to interpret the law based on what they consider to be “reasonable”

Which would make it fair to say that officers effectively have a carte blanche in this particular hypothetical situation as they can always say that they were doing what they personally believed to be “reasonable?”

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1 hour ago, JKW said:

The links I posted are as follows:

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1997/40/section/1 

and the link in your post to the pdf.

What puzzles me is why the post was censored as the links both worked perfectly fine.

As I don’t know who the moderators are I can’t speak for why the post wasn’t posted.

In particular, I qouted section 2.1 of the Code of Ethics, and section 1 of the Prevention of Harassment Act of 1997.

I also asked questions regarding the interpretation of these sections; questions, perhaps, that were perceived as inappropriate in some way though I can’t say I agree with that conclusion.

My impression of this forum was that it would be more impartial than perhaps it actually is.

Again, no knowing the moderators or their intentions it’s hard to say one way or another. Your guess is as good as mine.

 

 

Your post was not censored, all new users have their first few posts approved by a mod to stop spammers etc.

As shown links to PDF pages work fine as shown below;

http://www.college.police.uk/What-we-do/Ethics/Documents/Code_of_Ethics.pdf

Anyway if you have any more issues with so called "censorship" or generally moderation issues please drop me a DM, lets keep this discussion to the topic in the opening post.

 

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I’d happily DM you but being a new user I’m not sure how to do that.

Alternatively you could just post the aforementioned unposted post, assuming of course that it hasn’t been permanently deleted.

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That’s more or less what I thought, but I also thought there might be a more specific legal definition of what is or isn’t considered “reasonable”
Case law as you stated, and legal precedence would then be the best way of determining such a definition if one were trying to define it, if I understand you correctly.
So ultimately it’s up to a judge or series of judges to interpret the law based on what they consider to be “reasonable”
Which would make it fair to say that officers effectively have a carte blanche in this particular hypothetical situation as they can always say that they were doing what they personally believed to be “reasonable?”

Officers have as much carte Blanche as any other person. Innocent until proven guilty.
If you think an officer has done something wrong then complain.


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3 minutes ago, Reasonable Man said:


Officers have as much carte Blanche as any other person. Innocent until proven guilty.
If you think an officer has done something wrong then complain.


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None of this is based on personal experience. In the two years I’ve been living in this country I’ve only had one interaction with a police officer and it was a perfectly friendly one.

In this hypothetical situation, it would seem, to me at least, that there would be little point in making a formal complaint as the argument that what the officer was doing was “reasonable” by his or her own definition of that word could be used as an ironclad defense.

More than likely such a complaint would be ignored given that fact, regardless of whether or not the person being followed felt harassed.

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