Police Accountability

Matt Foot – APPEAL’s Co-Director – stands outside the Court of Appeal with the families of 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. In turn this leads to a culture where serious failings and malpractice are tolerated, and allowed to continue.

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

Mehmet and Peterkin

Two such cases are those of Saliah Mehmet and Basil Peterkin who were posthumously cleared by the Court of Appeal in 2024, after 46 years. The convictions resulted from the corrupt and racist policing of Det Sgt Ridgewell, an officer operating in the 1970s in London. Ridgewell framed several young black men for crimes that led to their wrongful imprisonment, eleven of whom have now had their names cleared. 

This should NOT have taken over four decades. Ridgewell was imprisoned for 7 years for a serious crime of dishonesty in the 1980s. It’s quite clear that all of his cases should have been looked at the moment he was sentenced to prison. Instead, the victims of Ridgewell’s Unit and their families were left in purgatory before the wrongful convictions were finally quashed decades later.

Supported by APPEAL, the families of Mehmet and Peterkin are now fighting for new laws that would ensure that when a police officer is imprisoned, there is an automatic independent review of their files.

“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

You can read more about Mehmet and Peterkin – and our work on their cases in the Guardian here.


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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