Police Investigations: Confidential (Perhaps) but Not Private
(2019) Journal of Media Law
18 Pages Posted: 22 Sep 2020 Last revised: 29 Sep 2020
Date Written: 2019
A handful of recent English authorities have held that, up to the point of charge, individuals will usually have a reasonable expectation of privacy in respect of police investigations into their conduct. This article argues this is problematic. It maintains, first, that neither the potential confidentiality of police investigations nor the need to protect a claimant’s reputation provides a sound basis for concluding that such investigations should generally be private. Then it argues that the fact that a police investigation into one’s conduct is taking place does not sit comfortably with the types of private information usually protected by English courts (e.g. information about one’s health or sexual life). Finally, it says the reasonable expectation of privacy in respect of police investigations needs to be reconciled with the well-established common law principle that individuals should not be allowed to suppress evidence of their own wrongdoing.
Keywords: privacy, police investigations, reputation
JEL Classification: K00, K13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation