Sir Cliff Richard is one of many famous faces to have been investigated for allegations of historic sex abuse, with the police and the Crown Prosecution Service ultimately taking no further action. Although Sir Cliff was never arrested or charged, his ordeal brings into question tactics that are being deployed by police and the necessity for reform regarding lengthy investigations and evidential review.
Following reports about the seven year ordeal suffered by Lily Allen, stalking is back in the mainstream media. Most people will be familiar with the term ‘stalking’. Unfortunately, familiarity can breed contempt: many people, including, significantly, many Police Officers, still either fundamentally misunderstand what stalking is, or fail to appreciate how serious a problem it presents for our society. As a result, many victims receive poor advice and little, if any, protection.
Maria Miller, the Culture Secretary, and Senior Labour MP Yvette Cooper have both called for a review of the law governing online harassment, stalking and abuse to prevent inconsistent enforcement and to encourage those affected to report the crime.
In Crawford v Jenkins  EWCA Civ 1035, the Claimant had sued the Defendant in false imprisonment and harassment on the basis of allegedly malicious statements made to the Police which had resulted in his arrest and detention. The course of conduct said to amount to harassment consisted of two text messages sent to him by the Defendant which complained of his actions, and the Defendant’s subsequent statements to the Police. At first instance, Her Honour Judge Baucher ruled that the Defendant was immune from suit (both in false imprisonment and harassment) owing to the ‘witness immunity’ rule in Westcott v Westcott  EWCA Civ 818. Having disregarded the statements to the Police, the Judge struck out the remainder of the harassment claim (the two text messages) on the basis that the conduct was reasonable. The Claimant appealed.
In the case of (1) Mama Group Ltd (2) Lovebox Festivals Ltd v (1) Daniel sinclair (2) Alexandra Joseph  EWHC 2374, the applicants request for a libel claim to be stuck out as an ‘abuse of process’ was refused.
In R (on the application of Catt) and (1) Association of Chief Police Officers (2) Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis; R (on the application of T) and Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis  EWCA Civ 192, the Court of Appeal considered two cases concerning the retention of personal data by the police.