Financial Assistance application for legal representation

Reference code: 
PCD 32
Date signed: 
21 July 2016
Authorisation name: 
Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor, Policing and Crime

Executive summary

The Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime (DMPC) is asked to consider an application for financial assistance of £23,250 (plus VAT) for a former police officer in respect of final costs for separate representation in legal proceedings.

Funding has previously been approved for the inquest and Judicial Review in relation to this matter. This application for financial assistance is for the separate representation of V53 in the Duggan family appeal to the Court of Appeal.

The DMPC has power to grant the application of £23,250 is satisfied that funding the Applicant’s legal expenses in the proceedings is likely to secure an efficient and effective police force. The DMPC has delegated authority, under 4.10 of the MOPAC Scheme of Delegation and Consent, to consider the current application for financial assistance.

Recommendation

The DMPC is asked to approve the application for financial assistance made by the Applicant for the sum of £23,250 for the reasons set out in Part 2.

Non-confidential facts and advice to the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime (DMPC)

1. Introduction and background

1.1. Part 2 of this Report is exempt because it falls within an exemption specified in para 2(2) of the Elected Local Policing Bodies (Specified Information) Order 2011 and/or under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, e.g. because the information amounts to personal data, is confidential or commercially sensitive.

1.2. On 4th August 2011, armed police officers engaged in a pre-planned mobile firearms operation stopped a mini cab to carry out a search for a firearm. During the stop Mark Duggan, a passenger in the mini cab, was fatally shot by an armed police officer, V53.

1.3. Protests regarding the death resulted in widespread disorder across London and other cities in England in early August 2011.

1.4. The inquest was held at the Royal Courts of Justice and concluded in January 2014 with a verdict of lawful killing.

1.5. In February 2014, a family member instigated judicial review (JR) proceedings. The JR was dismissed.

1.6. Funding applications were made, and approved, in respect of the legal expenses for officer V53 at the Inquest, and at the judicial review.

1.7. On 14th April 2016, DLS were made aware that the Duggan family had filed a skeleton argument at the Court of Appeal. While the respondent is the Coroner, both V53 and the Commissioner are listed as Interested Parties. The appeal relates to the directions given by the coroner in respect of the actions of V53.

1.8. The Applicant satisfies the criteria for entitlement to financial assistance, namely that they were performing their official duties, that they were acting in good faith and there was no neglect or wilful default on their part and that they exercised reasonable judgement. The facts provided by the Applicant in support of their representation for financial assistance are set out in the Exempt Report.

1.9. The Commissioner’s position in relation to the Applicant’s representations for financial assistance is set out in the Exempt Report.

1.10. There is a potential conflict of interests between the position of the Commissioner and the Applicant and accordingly the Applicant requires separate legal representation and financial assistance.

2. Issues for consideration

2.1. For the DMPC to consider whether there was a conflict of interest requiring separate representations and financial assistance and whether the financial assistance will secure an efficient and effective force.

2.2. The DMPC has power to grant the application if she is satisfied that funding the Applicant’s legal expenses in the proceedings is likely to secure the maintenance of an efficient and effective police force.

3. Financial Comments

3.1. The costs will be met from the 1996 Police Act Expenditure budget held within DLS. However should this budget over spend, any over spends in this financial year will be met from within the overall DLS revenue budget.

4. Legal Comments

4.1. The DMPC has discretion under Section 3(6) and para. 7 of Schedule 3 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 to fund police officers’ legal expenses in proceedings if they consider that providing the funding secures the maintenance of an efficient and effective police force, R -v- DPP ex parte Duckenfield (2000) 1 WLR 55. The Deputy Mayor has delegated authority, under para. 2.20 of the Scheme of Delegation, to consider the current application for financial assistance.

4.2. A conflict of interests arises between the Commissioner and Applicant which gives rise to the need for separate representation and financial assistance for the reasons set out above.

4.3. Home Office Circular 43/2001 provides guidance which applies to MOPAC. Para. 12 states “police officers must be confident that Police Authorities (now Police and Crime Commissioners) will provide financial support for officers in legal proceedings where they have acted in good faith and have exercised their judgement reasonably. Police Authorities will need to decide each case on its merits, but subject to that, there should be a strong presumption in favour of payment where these criteria are met”.

5. Equality Comments

5.1. To continue policing with the consent of the population is serves, the police will always seek to treat everyone fairly and openly. Whilst this specific decision does not have any equality implications this case does raise the wider issue of community confidence - this case received substantial media coverage.