The Practical Effects of the Human Rights Act 1998 on Policing in England and Wales

Nicholas O'Brien

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter


The Human Rights Act (HRA) 1998, based on the European Convention onHuman Rights, had a dramatic impact on policing in England and Wales.In terms of privacy, the Act imposed a requirement for police and otherinvestigatory bodies to formally consider such aspects as proportionalityprior to taking actions which could be considered intrusive. Prior to thislegislation, in simple terms, police could take any actions they considerednecessary as long as there was not legislation forbidding those actions. Costrather than proportionality was a major consideration when decisions weremade to undertake intrusive investigations. The Regulation of InvestigatoryPowers Act (RIPA) 2000 was introduced as the legislation which enabledinvestigatory bodies to conduct intrusive investigations. RIPA and theHRA imposed a significant bureaucratic and therefore cost burden onpolice. Despite this, the author who was a serving police officer at thetime, supports the introduction of the legislation and recommends thatjurisdictions considering introducing similar legislation should examinethe UK experience.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Implications of Covert Policing (Workshop on the Social Implications of National Security, 2009)
EditorsK. Michael
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherUniversity of Wollongong Press
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)9781741281934
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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