The police were found liable to pay damages for negligence having fired a gas canister into the plaintiffs’ gunsmith’s hop premises in order to flush out a dangerous psychopath. There had been a real and substantial fire risk in firing the canister into the building and that risk was only acceptable if there was fire fighting equipment available to put the fire out at an early stage. No equipment had been present at the time and the fire had broken out and spread very quickly.
Held: The defence of necessity might be available to police officers when looking at a claim for damage to property.
 2 All ER 986,  1 WLR 1242
England and Wales
Cited – Osman v The United Kingdom ECHR 28-Oct-1998
Police’s Complete Immunity was Too Wide
(Grand Chamber) A male teacher developed an obsession with a male pupil. He changed his name by deed poll to the pupil’s surname. He was required to teach at another school. The pupil’s family’s property was subjected to numerous acts of vandalism, . .
Cited – Hughes v National Union of Mineworkers QBD 1991
The court struck out as disclosing no cause of action a claim by a police officer who was injured while policing the miners’ strike and who alleged that the police officer in charge had deployed his men negligently.
Held: The officer in charge . .
Cited – Austin and Saxby v Commissioner of the Police for the Metropolis QBD 23-Mar-2005
Towards the end of a substantial May Day demonstration on the streets of London, police surrounded about 3,000 people in Oxford Circus and did not allow them to leave for seven hours. The claimant who was present, but not involved in any of the . .
Cited – Hertfordshire Police v Van Colle; Smith v Chief Constable of Sussex Police HL 30-Jul-2008
Police Obligations to Witnesses is Limited
A prosecution witness was murdered by the accused shortly before his trial. The parents of the deceased alleged that the failure of the police to protect their son was a breach of article 2.
Held: The House was asked ‘If the police are alerted . .
Cited – An Informer v A Chief Constable CA 29-Feb-2012
The claimant appealed against dismissal of his claim for damages against the police. He had provided them with information, but he said that they had acted negligently and in breach of contract causing him financial loss. The officer handling his . .
Cited – Michael and Others v The Chief Constable of South Wales Police and Another SC 28-Jan-2015
The claimants asserted negligence in the defendant in failing to provide an adequate response to an emergency call, leading, they said to the death of their daughter at the hands of her violent partner. They claimed also under the 1998 Act. The . .
Cited – Robinson v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police SC 8-Feb-2018
Limits to Police Exemption from Liability
The claimant, an elderly lady was bowled over and injured when police were chasing a suspect through the streets. As they arrested him they fell over on top of her. She appealed against refusal of her claim in negligence.
Held: Her appeal . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 27 October 2021; Ref: scu.183669