Police liable for investigation failures in wake of landmark Worboys ruling


Police can be held liable for serious failures in their investigations after a landmark Supreme Court ruling linked to the case of black cab rapist John Worboys.

The Metropolitan Police lost their challenge against a ruling which led to two of Worboys' victims winning compensation.

Deputy Commissioner Sir Craig Mackey said resources may have to be moved from other areas such as fraud to deal with the fallout of the decision.

Scotland Yard Deputy Commissioner Sir Craig Mackey (Metropolitan Police/PA)
Scotland Yard Deputy Commissioner Sir Craig Mackey (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Giving the court's ruling on Wednesday, Lord Kerr said: "By a majority, we have held that failures in the investigation of the crimes, provided they are sufficiently serious, will give rise to liability on the part of the police.

"There were such serious deficiencies in this case. There were, of course, both systemic and investigatory failures in the case.

"But, the important point to make is that, if the investigation is seriously defective, even if no systemic failures are present, this will be enough to render the police liable."

Judgment has been given this morning in Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis (Appellant) v DSD and another (Respondents) https://t.co/o3fdHjTcz2pic.twitter.com/SYX6isVTZ0

-- UK Supreme Court (@UKSupremeCourt) February 21, 2018

The first of Worboys' victims to make a complaint to police, known as DSD, was at court to hear the judgment.

Referring to the police, she said: "Had you done your job properly, there wouldn't be 105 victims, there would be one. I can take the one. I can't take the 105."

She and another woman who was also attacked by Worboys, known as NBV, were awarded £22,250 and £19,000 respectively after the High Court ruled that the Met were liable to them for failures in its investigation. The women brought their claims under Article 3 of the Human Rights Act which relates to inhuman or degrading treatment.

John Worboys prison release
The black cab used by rapist John Worboys (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Between 2002 and 2008, Worboys, who was jailed for life in 2009, carried out more than 100 rapes and sexual assaults using alcohol and drugs to stupefy his victims.

DSD made a complaint to the Met in 2003, while NBV contacted them after she was attacked in July 2007. In NBV's case, Worboys was quickly arrested as a suspect but released without charge, while in DSD's case he was never identified.

Responding to the judgement, Sir Craig said: "There is no doubt that it will have implications for how we resource and prioritise our investigations.

"We will have to consider how we balance our resources against the need to effectively investigate certain crimes. For example, we may need to consider moving extra resources into an Article 3 investigation from other areas, such as fraud."