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Police and Disability

1

Legal and Policy Considerations from the Social
Model and British Sign Language

Dr. Andreas Dim...
Introduction

2

• Recent case law on duties of the police towards persons with
disabilities
• ECtHR:
• English courts:

D...
Case Law I: Police and disability hate crime
• Dordevic v Croatia (Application No. 41526/10), Judgment of July
24, 2012
• ...
Case Law II: Police and restraint of person
with autism
• ZH v The Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis [2012] EWHC
6...
Case Law III: Police and house searches
• Finnigan v Chief Constable of Northumbria Police [2013] EWCA Civ
1191
• ‘…the Ch...
Legal analysis: Introductory remarks
• All three cases stress that police procedures need to be revised in
order to protec...
Legal analysis: CRPD and Sign Language?
• Approach through disability rights
• CRPD: accessibility to sign language under ...
Policy analysis: police procedures and
disability
• Police under equality duty (Equality Act 2010)
• Review of procedures ...
THANK YOU

9
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Police duties and disability

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Police duties and disability

  1. 1. Police and Disability 1 Legal and Policy Considerations from the Social Model and British Sign Language Dr. Andreas Dimopoulos Brunel University Disability Research Forum, SHU 11/02/2014
  2. 2. Introduction 2 • Recent case law on duties of the police towards persons with disabilities • ECtHR: • English courts: Dordevic v Croatia ZH v Police Commissioner for the Metropolis, Finnigan v Northumbria Police • Legal basis for such duties • ECHR: Positive obligations under Art. 3 • English law: Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Equality Act 2010 • CRPD: ?
  3. 3. Case Law I: Police and disability hate crime • Dordevic v Croatia (Application No. 41526/10), Judgment of July 24, 2012 • Failure of police to protect against disability hate crime: • measured against the vulnerability of the victim • even if the incidents are not criminal, their combined effect may cross the threshold of Art. 3 ECHR • Police may be liable in negligence for breach of the HRA • Not raised in the Law Commission’s Consultation Paper 213 ‘Hate Crime: The Case for Extending the Existing Offences’ • Similarities with Fiona Pilkington’s case 3
  4. 4. Case Law II: Police and restraint of person with autism • ZH v The Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis [2012] EWHC 604 (QB) • Assault and battery, false imprisonment • Disability Discrimination Act 1995: breach of duty to make reasonable adjustments to police procedure for restraint • Violation of Articles 3,5 and 8 ECHR • Confirmed in The Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis v ZH [2013] EWCA Civ 69 • Practical policing and operational discretion of the police does not mean that the police can do anything 4
  5. 5. Case Law III: Police and house searches • Finnigan v Chief Constable of Northumbria Police [2013] EWCA Civ 1191 • ‘…the Chief Constable was obliged to make reasonable adjustments to her PPP (practice, policy or procedure) of conducting searches in spoken English so that it did not have a detrimental effect on deaf persons’ at [33] • Practical policing: not necessarily BSL interpreter, but lip-reading constable etc. • Upheld that the absence of a BSL interpreter did not have any effect on the ability of Mr Finnigan and the officers to communicate with each other effectively on the two occasions when he was not behaving obstructively • No detriment = no claim 5
  6. 6. Legal analysis: Introductory remarks • All three cases stress that police procedures need to be revised in order to protect/accommodate the disability of claimant • In Dordevic, positive obligation to protect against hate crime under Art. 3 • In ZH, the individual response of the police breached ECHR rights • Finnigan stresses an anticipatory, general regulation of reasonable accommodation to disability but does not go into any human rights issues other than discrimination • So, the legal question half-answered in Finnigan is: what are the human rights implications of not providing a BSL interpreter in police procedures for persons they know are D/deaf? 6
  7. 7. Legal analysis: CRPD and Sign Language? • Approach through disability rights • CRPD: accessibility to sign language under Art. 9 • Approach through disability rights theory • social model of disability (within CRPD) ⬌ disablism ⬌ audism • D/deaf: issue of identity, cultural and personal • Denial of reasonable accommodation/ access to BSL interpreter for Deaf persons is audism: analogy with search to the person by an officer of the opposite sex 7
  8. 8. Policy analysis: police procedures and disability • Police under equality duty (Equality Act 2010) • Review of procedures to offer reasonable accommodations for disability • Police should avoid disablist/audist practices by ascribing to the principles underpinning the CRPD • Developing best practice towards persons with disability: training officers in BSL, lip-reading, Makaton etc. 8
  9. 9. THANK YOU 9

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