Policing – Government action
UK Government actions
- In March 2021, the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Act 2021 gained royal assent. It allows for authorisation of criminal conduct by covert human intelligence sources, although the Act is not yet in force.
- In March 2021, the UK Government introduced the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021. The Bill contains various measures including new stop and search powers, restrictions on protest, and an extension of police powers to respond to unauthorised encampments.
- In March 2020, the UK Government announced £6.7 million of extra funding for police officers to carry Tasers, which could allow more than 8,000 additional officers in England and Wales to carry them.
- In March 2020, the UK Government introduced the Coronavirus Act 2020, which set out police powers regarding potentially infectious persons (section 51) and events, gatherings and premises (section 52). Powers under section 52 have not been activated. The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2020 and Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 5) (Wales) Regulations 2020 provided police with powers to enforce lockdown rules, restrict gatherings and public movement, and require the closure of businesses and premises. Further regulations included other obligations to be enforced, such as mandating face coverings in certain settings.
- In January 2020, the UK Government published the ‘Armed policing and police use of less lethal weapons: code of practice’, referring to the United Nations’ basic principles on the use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials.
- In September 2019, the UK Government committed to providing over £750 million to recruit 20,000 new police officers over three years.
- In August 2019, the UK Government announced the extended roll-out of a stop and search pilot in England and Wales, allowing officers to stop and search anyone without reasonable suspicion in some circumstances to counter violent crime.
- In October 2018, the UK Government published guidance on submitting ‘police super-complaints’, offering information to designated bodies on how to make complaints on systemic issues in policing.
- In January 2018, the UK Government replaced the Independent Police Complaints Commission with the Independent Office for Police Complaints (IOPC), in line with reforms to the police complaints system in England and Wales under the Policing and Crime Act 2017. In February 2020, the IOPC’s powers were extended to investigate incidents without police referral.
- In October 2017, the UK Government published statutory guidance for England, the Home Office Concordat on Children in Custody, outlining the commitment to decrease the number of children detained overnight, with police cells being a last resort for children.
- In October 2017, the UK Government responded to the Independent Review of Deaths and Serious Incidents in Police Custody, which made 110 recommendations, including on statistics, custody environment, restraint, and health and wellbeing.
- Since April 2017, police forces across England and Wales have been required to record a range of use of force data, namely the reason for use of force and characteristics of the person subject to force, such as perceived ethnicity, age, gender and condition of health, along with the outcome of the incident, any injuries to both staff and the person involved, and location.
- The Policing and Crime Act 2017 prohibited the use of police stations as a ‘place of safety’ for children under 18 experiencing a mental health crisis.
Read our assessment of the UK Government’s progress on policing.
The assessment was made based on the evidence available up to 12/07/2021