Police Liability in Negligence for Failure to Prevent Crime: Time to Rethink

31 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2014 Last revised: 23 Jul 2014

See all articles by Stelios Tofaris

Stelios Tofaris

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law

Sandy Steel

University of Oxford

Date Written: July 21, 2014

Abstract

The article advances two propositions. The first is that the current law on the negligence liability of the police for failure to prevent a crime is unsatisfactory. The general rule of non-liability is based on two lines of argument, neither of which is persuasive. The Hill policy grounds used by the courts do not stand up to close scrutiny, whist the application of the pure omission rule to the police is also problematic. At the same time, the current law does not attach adequate significance to arguments in favour of liability. The second proposition is that the existing framework of negligence liability of public authorities can be re-adjusted to generate outcomes that better balance the valid considerations for and against liability in cases of police failure to prevent crime.

Keywords: Negligence, tort, public authorities, liability, police, corrective justice, duty of care

Suggested Citation

Tofaris, Stelios and Steel, Sandy, Police Liability in Negligence for Failure to Prevent Crime: Time to Rethink (July 21, 2014). University of Cambridge Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 39/2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2469532 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2469532

Stelios Tofaris (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law ( email )

Sandy Steel

University of Oxford ( email )

Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

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