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Hill v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire

[1989] AC 53

Case summary last updated at 18/01/2020 19:53 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Hill v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire

P’s daughter was murdered in an area over which R was Chief Constable and claimed that R was negligent in failing to prevent the crime and that, if the police were more efficient, his daughter would have been saved. HL dismissed claim, saying (1) that the police were immune from negligence claims regarding investigation and suppression of crime, and (2) the police had no duty of care to people who might be injured by crime, except where the police’s own actions created an exceptional added risk of being subjected to criminal activities. 
 
Lord Keith: this case is different from Dorset yacht Co. because (1) here the criminal was never in police custody, and (2) here there was not the necessary proximity between V and the CC (in Dorset the class of people who were sufficiently proximate were boat owners on the island, whereas V here was no more likely to be attacked than anyone else). Point (1) is important because a police force would know the identity of the criminal, unlike here. If the appeal were allowed, the public could investigate the performance of every policeman, which would clog up the courts and therefore the courts are the wrong bodies to investigate the efficiency of the police. 

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