Regina v Chief Constable for North Wales Police Area Authority ex parte AB and CD etc: Admn 10 Jul 1997

The police have power to release limited information about offenders. In this case known paedophiles were staying at a campsite, and their criminal record was disclosed to the site owner. There was no harrassment under s3 of the 1968 Act. On any duty of confidence: ‘I have great difficulty in accepting that the information which the NWP held which enabled them to disclose this connection was the subject of any duty of confidence owed to the applicants. But even if it was it seems to me clear that the circumstances were such as to entitle the NWP to make such disclosure. It is hard to imagine circumstances in which the police could acquire information subject to a duty of confidence which would not have entitled them to disclose that information when the public interest required them to do so. This was, as they judged, such a situation and nothing suggests to me that their judgment was unlawful.’ There was no misfeasance in a public office: ‘it cannot be suggested that in the present case the NWP acted with a deliberate and dishonest intention to abuse their powers and with an intention to injure the applicant or with knowledge that they had no power to disclose information to the site owner. All the evidence shows that they acted in a bona fide belief that disclosure was necessary, to the extent made in the public interest.’ However ‘It is not acceptable that those who have undergone the lawful punishment imposed by the court should be the subject of intimidation and private vengeance, harried from parish to parish like paupers under the old Poor Law. It is not only in their interests but in the interest of society as a whole that they should be enabled and if need be helped, to live normal lives. ‘


Lord Bingham CJ and Buxton J


Times 14-Jul-1997, [1997] EWHC Admin 667, [1997] 3 WLR 724




Caravan Sites Act 1968 3, European Convention on Human Rights 8


CitedElliott v Chief Constable of Wiltshire and Others ChD 20-Nov-1996
Vice-Chancellor was asked to consider whether to strike out a statement of claim based upon alleged misfeasance by a police officer in his public office. The allegation against the police officer was that he had deliberately and falsely supplied . .

Cited by:

Appeal fromRegina v Chief Constable of North Wales Police and Others Ex Parte Thorpe and Another; Regina v Chief Constable for North Wales Police Area and others ex parte AB and CB CA 18-Mar-1998
Public Identification of Pedophiles by Police
AB and CB had been released from prison after serving sentences for sexual assaults on children. They were thought still to be dangerous. They moved about the country to escape identification, and came to be staying on a campsite. The police sought . .
CitedX (South Yorkshire) v Secretary of State for The Home Department and Another Admn 24-Oct-2012
The offender had twice been convicted of sex assaults against children. He was on the sex offenders register for life subject to a future right to seek de-registration. He now challenged as unlawful, the policy, ‘The Child Sex Offender (CSO) . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Administrative, Police, Human Rights

Updated: 26 May 2022; Ref: scu.137612