Keegan v. the United Kingdom (Application No. 28867/03)

Key paragraph(s) can be found below the document.

34. The fact that the police did not act maliciously is not decisive under the Convention, which aims to protect against abuse of power, however motivated or caused (see, mutatis mutandis, McLeod, cited above, where the police suspected a breach of the peace might occur). The Court cannot agree that limiting actions for damages to cases of malice is necessary to protect the police in their vital function of investigating crime. The exercise of powers to interfere with home and private life must be confined within reasonable bounds to minimise the impact of such measures on the personal sphere of the individual guaranteed under Article 8 which is pertinent to security and well-being (see, for example, Buckley v. the United Kingdom, 25 September 1996, § 76, Reports 1996‑IV). In a case where basic steps to verify the connection between the address and the offence under investigation were not effectively carried out, the resulting police action, which caused the applicants considerable fear and alarm, cannot be regarded as proportionate.

35. As argued by the applicants, this finding does not imply that any search which proves to be unsuccessful would fail the proportionality test, only that a failure to take reasonable and available precautions may do so.


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