Policing Human Rights
Policing Human Rights (Oxford University Press) draws on a year of fieldwork with the Police Service of Northern Ireland to produce an account of how human rights law is interpreted and applied, but also re-defined and resisted, by a variety of officers conducting routine police. Deploying concepts from socio-legal studies, criminology and anthropology, it examines the role of human rights norms in everyday police practices and vernaculars. Policing Human Rights is animated by the country’s recent conflict and lingering ethno-politics; contestation over human rights abounds.
The Statutory Reform of Pre-Charge Bail
The Policing and Crime Act 2017 overhauled the law governing police use of pre-charge bail. It established a presumption in favour of a suspect’s release from custody without bail, introduced new statutory tests of ‘necessity’ and ‘proportionality’ and instigated a rigorous internal police authorisation process. The reforms have resulted in a dramatic reduction in the use of pre-charge bail and been hotly contested by senior police and victims groups. Working with a police force in England and Wales, this project draws on qualitative and quantitative data to explore how police are interpreting and applying the new statutory tests, and the impact on investigatory practices and decision-making in custody.
In Pursuit of ‘Ethical Duties’
This British Academy funded project sought to compare the crafting and performance of the statutory duties to have ‘due regard’ to equality commitments in England (s149(1) Equality Act 2010) and to give ‘proper consideration’ to human rights in Victoria (s38(1) Victoria Charter of Rights and Responsibilities). Doctrinally, the project analyses how the courts interpret and apply these duties. Empirically, it constructs an account of public law from the ground-up. It sought to use qualitative methods to elicit equality and rights practices, vernaculars and assumptions that animate the administration of state power and allocation of resources. The research hopes to encourage greater appraisal of the particular role and capacity of public authorities as actors involved in equality and rights ‘dialogues’ alongside the judiciary and legislature.