Title: Can the UK police ever be liable for negligent investigation or a failure to protect?

Authors: Phil Palmer

Addresses: School of Law, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK

Abstract: The English legal approach to police negligent liability is highly restrictive. Immunity from prosecution continues to be the default position where claimants bring an action for negligent investigation or a negligent failure to protect. The alternative route to liability through the Human Rights Act has been so narrowly interpreted by the House of Lords, making the probability of a successful action as unlikely as an action in negligence. This article discusses the difficulties that claimants have in bringing a successful action and suggests an alternative route may be available using the tort of misfeasance.

Keywords: police forces; negligent liability; negligence; human rights; positive duties; misfeasance; negligent investigation; failure to protect; protection; legal approaches; English law; England; immunity; prosecution; default positions; claimants; laws; House of Lords; supreme courts; human rights; Parliamentary Acts; UK Parliament; United Kingdom; legislation; statutes; successful actions; tort; Giles Van Colle; case law; law reports; chief constables; Hertfordshire Police; Stephen Smith; Sussex Police; Jacqueline Hill; Mulkiye Osman; Ahmet Osman; West Yorkshire Constabulary; public law; public policy.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPLAP.2011.041892

International Journal of Public Law and Policy, 2011 Vol.1 No.1, pp.100 - 116

Received: 08 May 2021
Accepted: 12 May 2021

Published online: 15 Aug 2011 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article