Catt and T, Regina (on The Applications of) v Commissioner of Police of The Metropolis: SC 4 Mar 2015

Police Data Retention Justifiable

The appellants challenged the collection of data by the police, alleging that its retention interfered with their Article 8 rights. C complained of the retention of records of his lawful activities attending political demonstrations, and T complained of the retention of an harassment warning issued against him. The Commissioner now appealed against a decision that it was unlawful.
Held: (Toulson L dissenting in part). The appeal succeeded. The collection and retention of the data did amount to an interference in the respondent’s Article 8.2 rights, but the actions were justified by the legitimate requirements of police intelligence-gathering in the interests of the maintenance of public order and the prevention of crime. Keeping a record of a ‘prevention of harassment’ letter could be justified by the need of the police in harassment cases to know if there had been previous allegations.
‘At common law the police have the power to obtain and store information for policing purposes, ie broadly speaking for the maintenance of public order and the prevention and detection of crime. These powers do not authorise intrusive methods of obtaining information, such as entry upon private property or acts (other than arrest under common law powers) which would constitute an assault. But they were amply sufficient to authorise the obtaining and storage of the kind of public information in question on these appeals . . The exercise of these powers is subject to an intensive regime of statutory and administrative regulation.’
. . And ‘ the rules need not be statutory, provided that they operate within a framework of law and that there are effective means of enforcing them. Their application, including the manner in which any discretion will be exercised, should be reasonably predictable, if necessary with the assistance of expert advice. But except perhaps in the simplest cases, this does not mean that the law has to codify the answers to every possible issue which may arise. It is enough that it lays down principles which are capable of being predictably applied to any situation.’

Lord Neuberger, President, Lady Hale, Deputy President, Lord Mance, Lord Sumption, Lord Toulson
[2015] 1 AC 1065, [2015] 2 WLR 664, [2015] 2 All ER 727, [2015] HRLR 4, [2015] WLR(D) 110, [2015] UKSC 9, UKSC 2013/0114
Bailii Summary, WLRD, Bailii, SC, SC Summary
European Convention on Human Rights 8, Data Protection Act 1998, Protection from Harassment Act 1997
England and Wales
CitedX v United Kingdom ECHR 1972
The defendant had been convicted of knowingly living on the earnings of prostitution contrary to section 30(1) of the Sexual Offences Act 1956.
Held: The Commission rejected as manifestly ill-founded the applicant’s challenge to this provision . .
CitedFriedl v Austria ECHR 31-Jan-1995
The Commission distinguished between the taking and keeping of photographs without identifying the subjects, and police questioning in order to establish identity and the recording of these personal data; the former was not an interference with . .
At First InstanceCatt v The Commissioner of Police of The Metropolis Admn 30-May-2012
The claimant objected to the retention of data about him as to his attendance at assorted political protests. He had not engaged in criminality. . .
Appeal fromCatt, Regina (on The Application of) v The Association of Chief Police Officers of England, Wales and Northern Ireland and Others CA 14-Mar-2013
The appellant sought an order requiring the defendant to to remove entries against his name in police databases. He had been a frequent protester against what he saw to be unlawful activities of a defence contractor. Other members of his group had . .
CitedPretty v The United Kingdom ECHR 29-Apr-2002
Right to Life Did Not include Right to Death
The applicant was paralysed and suffered a degenerative condition. She wanted her husband to be allowed to assist her suicide by accompanying her to Switzerland. English law would not excuse such behaviour. She argued that the right to die is not . .
CitedCountryside Alliance and others, Regina (on the Application of) v Attorney General and Another HL 28-Nov-2007
The appellants said that the 2004 Act infringed their rights under articles 8 11 and 14 and Art 1 of protocol 1.
Held: Article 8 protected the right to private and family life. Its purpose was to protect individuals from unjustified intrusion . .
CitedSegerstedt-Wiberg and Others v Sweden ECHR 6-Jun-2006
The Court, having regard to the scope of the notion of ‘private life’ as interpreted in its case-law . . finds that the information about the applicants that was stored on the Secret Police register and was released to them clearly constituted data . .
CitedLeander v Sweden ECHR 26-Mar-1987
Mr Leander had been refused employment at a museum located on a naval base, having been assessed as a security risk on the basis of information stored on a register maintained by State security services that had not been disclosed him. Mr Leander . .
CitedRotaru v Romania ECHR 4-May-2000
Grand Chamber – The applicant, a lawyer, complained of a violation of his right to respect for his private life on account of the use against him by the Romanian Intelligence Service of a file which contained information about his conviction for . .
CitedPG and JH v The United Kingdom ECHR 25-Sep-2001
The use of covert listening devices within a police station was an infringement of the right to privacy, since there was no system of law regulating such practices. That need not affect the right to a fair trial. The prosecution had a duty to . .
CitedCampbell v Mirror Group Newspapers Ltd (MGN) (No 1) HL 6-May-2004
The claimant appealed against the denial of her claim that the defendant had infringed her right to respect for her private life. She was a model who had proclaimed publicly that she did not take drugs, but the defendant had published a story . .
CitedMarper v United Kingdom; S v United Kingdom ECHR 4-Dec-2008
(Grand Chamber) The applicants complained that on being arrested on suspicion of offences, samples of their DNA had been taken, but then despite being released without conviction, the samples had retained on the Police database.
Held: . .
CitedKinloch v Her Majesty’s Advocate SC 19-Dec-2012
The appellant said that the police officers had acted unlawfully when collecting the evidence used against him, in that the information used to support the request for permission to undertake clandestine surveillance had been insufficiently . .
CitedL, Regina (On the Application of) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis SC 29-Oct-2009
Rebalancing of Enhanced Disclosure Requirements
The Court was asked as to the practice of supplying enhanced criminal record certificates under the 1997 Act. It was said that the release of reports of suspicions was a disproportionate interference in the claimants article 8 rights to a private . .
CitedGC v The Commissioner of Police of The Metropolis SC 18-May-2011
The court was asked to decide from whom DNA samples could lawfully be taken by the Police,and for how long they should be kept. The first respondent now said that a declaration of incompatibility of section 64(1A) could not be avoided.
Held: . .
CitedT and Another, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for The Home Department and Another SC 18-Jun-2014
T and JB, asserted that the reference in certificates issued by the state to cautions given to them violated their right to respect for their private life under article 8 of the Convention. T further claims that the obligation cast upon him to . .
CitedGillan, Regina (on the Application of) v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis and Another HL 8-Mar-2006
The defendants said that the stop and search powers granted under the 2000 Act were too wide, and infringed their human rights. Each had been stopped when innocently attending demonstrations in London, and had been effectively detained for about . .
CitedChief Constable of Humberside Police and Others v The Information Commissioner and Another CA 19-Oct-2009
Complaints had been made that the police were not deleting from their criminal records very old records of minor convictions. The police appealed against a finding that they should do so under Data Protection Principles. The Police had used a policy . .
CitedBouchacourt v France ECHR 17-Dec-2009
The applicant had been sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment for rape and sexual assault on minors. His name had been placed automatically on a Register of Sexual and Violent Offenders, and had had to confirm his address every year and to give notice . .
CitedMM v The United Kingdom ECHR 13-Nov-2012
ECHR The applicant complained about the retention and disclosure in the context of a criminal record check of data concerning a caution she received from the police. he applicant, who lived in Northern Ireland, . .

Cited by:
CitedZXC v Bloomberg Lp CA 15-May-2020
Privacy Expecation during police investigations
Appeal from a judgment finding that the Defendant had breached the Claimant’s privacy rights. He made an award of damages for the infraction of those rights and granted an injunction restraining Bloomberg from publishing information which further . .
See AlsoCatt v The United Kingdom ECHR 24-Jan-2019
ECHR Judgment : Article 8 – Right to respect for private and family life : First Section . .
CitedMiller v The College of Policing CA 20-Dec-2021
Hate-Incident Guidance Inflexible and Unlawful
The central issue raised in the appeal is the lawfulness of certain parts of a document entitled the Hate Crime Operational Guidance (the Guidance). The Guidance, issued in 2014 by the College of Policing (the College), the respondent to this . .
CitedGallagher for Judicial Review (NI) SC 30-Jan-2019
Disclosure of older minor offences to employers 48 . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Police, Information

Leading Case

Updated: 02 January 2022; Ref: scu.543801