Human rights and the future prospects for liberal policing in the UK

Wood, D. (2010) Human rights and the future prospects for liberal policing in the UK. In: British Society of Criminology Conference, 11th-14th July 2010, University of Leicester.

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This paper is primarily concerned with the future prospects for liberal policing in the United Kingdom. It is argued in the paper that despite the formal incorporation of human rights within UK law, policing over the past ten years has become increasingly illiberal. In seeking to address this apparent contradiction it is acknowledged in the paper that there have been a number of high profile examples of human rights legislation being used to restrict and constrain the UK Government’s use of, in particular, anti-terror policing techniques. A most recent example is the European Court of Human Rights ruling that the arbitrary use of stop and search powers under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 was unlawful. Such examples demonstrate that human rights legislation can be effective in highlighting and challenging illiberal police practice. However, I will argue in the paper that there are limits to how far human rights legislation can be used to constrain policing and maintain its liberal traditions. Legislative challenges in general will always take time and are often only achieved retrospectively after the urgent need for illiberal police practices has passed. The case referred to above took over six years before the ruling was made. The paper will argue that a concerted political response to illiberal tends in policing is required alongside legal challenges if liberal policing is to have a future in the UK.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology > HV7551-8280.7 Police. Detectives. Constabulary
Divisions: pre Nov-2014 > Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > Law and Criminal Justice Studies
Depositing User: Dominic Wood
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2012 15:55
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2014 14:10

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00