Victims of serious crime may be able to hold police liable for failures in their investigations following a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court.
The Metropolitan Police lost an appeal against two rape victims, who won compensation over its handling of the case of black cab rapist John Worboys.
The women had argued their treatment by police caused them mental harm.
The judge said if an investigation was “seriously defective”, then this “will be enough to render the police liable”.
The Met said it fully accepted the ruling, and that there was “no doubt” it would have implications on future investigations.
Human rights organisation Liberty said it was a “landmark” decision.
After Worboys, the Met will have to take rape victims seriously
In a move backed by Theresa May, the Met dragged victims through court to evade its duty. That was a misguided battle
Today two of John Worboys’ victims have reached the end of a legal battle that has dominated their lives for years. The supreme court has made it crystal clear that the police have a legal obligation under the Human Rights Act to properly investigate serious violent crimes like those committed by Worboys. It is a huge victory in the struggle to end violence against women and girls.
These two women – known as DSD and NBV – had already been let down in the most devastating way by the Metropolitan police. They were raped by John Worboys in 2003 and 2007. When they reported what happened, the police didn’t believe them – and Worboys was left to continue attacking women until 2008.
Met owes women damages for John Worboys investigation failings
Two women who accused the serial attacker John Worboys of raping them have won a landmark ruling that they are entitled to compensation for police failings in investigating the cases.
The ruling by the Supreme Court today could land the police with a bill for tens of thousands of pounds and pave the way for dozens of victims to claim compensation. Five Supreme Court justices unanimously dismissed an appeal by the Metropolitan Police, which had argued — with the backing of the Home Secretary — that to impose a duty of care on their operational effectiveness would hamper their ability to fight crime.
Supreme Court Judgement: