Following a two day hearing on 28-29 March 2017, the Divisional Court (Sharp LJ & Garnham J) has reserved judgment on a claim for judicial review brought by David Crompton, the former Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police, challenging the decision of the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner to call upon him to resign his office. The claim is high-profile; the decision was taken because of a public statement made by Mr. Crompton the day after the Hillsborough Inquests jury had delivered its verdicts.
This case is the first time a court has had to give detailed consideration to the nature of the power that is available to a Police and Crime Commissioner to require a Chief Constable to resign. Under section 38 of the Police and Social Responsibility Act 2011, if a Police and Crime Commissioner calls upon a chief constable to resign following the prescribed statutory process, the chief constable is required to do so. The Divisional Court is expected to provide explanation of the nature of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s power. The Court was also asked consider the extent to which, when using the section 38 power, a Police and Crime Commissioner is required to follow the views of HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary. The Court will also consider whether the Commissioner’s decision in this case was rational and proportionate.