Olivia Checa-Dover successfully defends necessity challenge to arrest of ‘ostensibly cooperative’ childminder

23 May 2023

Olivia Checa-Dover was instructed on behalf of the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police. The Claimant was arrested following a report to police of a childminder having left a young child, alone and unattended, in a stand-alone garage. The Claimant alleged that the arresting officer had not formed a reasonable belief in the necessity for the arrest, including a failure to address his mind to appropriate alternatives.

Having heard the evidence at Manchester Civil Justice Centre, HHJ Hassall held the arrest, and the length of detention that followed, to be lawful. Having been satisfied that the officer held an honest belief in the necessity, the court turned to the reasonableness of the same. In finding the belief reasonable, the court reiterated the following key principles:

  1. The question of necessity must be approached through the lens of what is realistic in policing;
  2. A voluntary interview is not always an effective method of achieving a prompt and effective investigation, even with an ostensibly cooperative suspect; and
  3. The court must guard against applying a retrospective analysis to real time decision-making.

Another feature drawn out during the evidence related to quantum. The Claimant alleged that the arrest had caused reputational and professional harm. However, the Defendant contended that the counterfactual scenario absent an arrest would still have involved a serious criminal investigation and all that comes with it. As such, any professional loss as may be proved could not be attributed to the arrest. This proposition was accepted by the Claimant, but ultimately became academic upon the claim being dismissed.


Authors

Olivia Checa-Dover

Call 2007

Related areas

Police Law

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