On 24 September 2023, the Home Office announced a review of investigations after police use of force. The terms of reference for the review were published on 24 October 2024.
The review arose in response to backlash over the Crown Prosecution Service’s (CPS) decision to charge a police officer with murder in connection with the death of Chris Kaba. It is notable that the Home Office’s decision to conduct the review was made in response to a decision by the CPS to take steps to hold an officer accountable for his fatal use of force, rather than evidence of disproportionate use of force itself.
In our evidence, we highlight several concerns about the review process and terms of reference:
- Given the breadth of the review, the potential for significant policy proposals arising out of it, and the important of police accountability, the proposed time frame for the is too short.
- The Home Office has not provided any meaningful opportunity for members of the public, affected groups, or organisations representing them to input into the terms of reference or the review itself.
- The review does not acknowledge the disproportionate use of force against Black and racialised communities or individuals suffering from mental ill health, nor the need to examine how legal frameworks and guidance exacerbate this.
We also highlight several ways in which the investigation process following fatal use of force could be reformed to avoid the aguish to bereaved families caused by unnecessary delay and duplication.
JUSTICE’s evidence drew on our Working Parties and reports including: Tackling Racial Injustice: Children and the Youth System (2021); When Things Go Wrong: the response of the justice system (2020); and The State We’re In: Addressing Threats & Challenges to the Rule of Law (2023).