The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 is a hugely important piece of legislation, brought in to establish a balance between the powers of the police and the rights of the public. The Act created a Code of Practice for police behaviour (PACE) in an attempt to restore the British public’s confidence in the police force.
The act was brought in, partially in response to the 1981 Brixton Riots, which was a confrontation between the Metropolitan Police and protestors in Brixton, South London. A public inquiry into the riot, the Scarman Report, found disproportionate use of ‘stop and search’ powers against black people. Further high profile cases of miscarriages of justice, such as the ‘Birmingham Six’ meant that there was a need for accountability by the police in such situations.