Police Do Not Owe A Duty Of Care To Either Victims Or Witnesses


A former gangster who changed his name has failed in a High Court bid for compensation for “psychiatric damage” after accusing Greater Manchester Police of revealing his new identity to former criminal associates.

The man, referred to as PBD, claimed the police’s actions forced him to enter a witness protection scheme in December 2010 that caused him depression and anxiety because he had to spend a period separated from his partner.

He accused Greater Manchester Police of breaching a duty of care they owed him after he had given evidence “against another member of the Manchester criminal fraternity” in the USA and had been shot and wounded.

Mr Justice Silber, sitting at the High Court in London, said he had no doubt that PBD, the former member of a criminal gang, was “terrified of being attacked” and believed there was a contract out to kill him.

But the courts had already ruled that the police “do not owe a duty of care to witnesses and victims”.

The judge said it was not possible to see why PBD, who was a suspect in a money laundering offence, “should be owed a duty of care when a witness and a victim does not have such a duty owed to him”.

In any event, PBD had not been “forced” into witness protection but was “keen” to join the scheme.

The judge also rejected a claim by PBD’s partner for damages. She claimed the police had breached an agreement to pay her £1,500 per month for six months as compensation for giving up her job and eventually joining him in witness protection.

The judge said he could not accept her evidence as credible.

The cases were heard at a private hearing in October, but the judge publicly announced the outcome.

The judge said PBD had claimed a duty of care because of three factors. First, he had co-operated with police and as a result received a reduced prison sentence in 2004.

Second, he had given evidence against another member of the Manchester criminal fraternity in the US and this had led to the man being jailed for over 20 years, and in return he had received immunity from prosecution.

Finally, an attempt had been made on his life. He had been shot and wounded by a person who was still at large and a contract on his life had been offered by other members of the criminal community.