Police Accountability

Matt Foot – APPEAL’s Co-Director – stands outside the Court of Appeal with Mehmet and Peterkin. Photo Credit: Jess Hurd

Many wrongful convictions involve serious police malpractice, and some police corruption.

The police are rarely held to account for such failings. We are not aware of a single police officer ever going to prison for wrongdoing that led to a miscarriage of justice. Rarely does a police officer lose their job or face serious repercussions.

This can leave the police free to do what they like, without concern for the consequences. This provides a culture where serious failings and malpractice are tolerated, and allowed to continue.

APPEAL has worked on a number of cases where police malpractice has played a key role in a wrongful conviction. In each case we work hard to evidence this and use it as fresh evidence before the Court of Appeal. We also spot patterns and advocate for systemic change.

This year Saliah Mehmet and Basil Peterkin were posthumously cleared after 46 years, and their families are now fighting for new laws that would ensure all potential miscarriages of justice caused by corrupt police officers are uncovered. APPEAL represented their families who were affected by the corrupt racist policing of Det Sgt Ridgewell operating in the 1970s. Despite Ridgewell’s imprisonment for 7 years in 1980 for a serious crime of dishonesty, no one in authority chose to look at his cases. That left victims of Ridgewell’s Unit, and their families in purgatory for over four decades before the wrongful convictions were quashed. You can read more about Mehmet and Peterkin in the Guardian here.

We are calling for a change in the law that when a police officer is imprisoned, there should be an automatic independent review of their files for wrongful convictions, imposed at sentence.

“If a police officer is imprisoned there should be an automatic independent review of their files for wrongful convictions, imposed at sentence. That’s what we are fighting for on behalf of these families and all the people who have been victimised.” – Matt Foot, Co-Director of APPEAL

 

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APPEAL is the working name of the Centre for Criminal Appeals, a Charitable Company Limited By Guarantee and a law practice authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Registered Charity Number: 1144162 | SRA Authorisation Number: 621184 | Company Number: 7556168