Can you sue the Police for negligence when they admit they have made mistakes?
A recent Supreme Court decision has reinforced the long established legal position that the Police cannot be sued for negligence.
In 2009 Joanna Michael was murdered by her former boyfriend. Cyron Williams had broken into Joanna’s home having learned of her new relationship, he made threats to kill her. Joanna called 999. The call was taken by Gwent Police before being transferred to South Wales Police. The call should have been graded as requiring an immediate response but was wrongly downgraded to a lower level. Joanna made a second 999 call but by the time the Police arrived at Joanna’s home, she had been stabbed 72 times.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission ruled that both South Wales and Gwent Police had made mistakes.
Joanna’s family issued court proceedings for negligence against both police forces, hoping to secure compensation to help support her 2 children. The Court of Appeal had previously ruled that the claim could not succeed as the Police have immunity from negligence claims. This decision has now been upheld by the Supreme Court.
This is a tragic case. A young mother’s life has been ended in a brutal way. Her death may have been prevented if the Police had not wrongly downgraded her call and had attended her home immediately. It may appear a harsh decision to prevent her family from claiming compensation where the Police themselves have admitted their errors. Against this we have to consider the position of the Police. The Police have to be able to carry out their duties without the fear of being sued for every action they take. If the Police could be sued, their precious resources would be spent trying to avoid claims rather than being used to benefit and protect the greater community. This is the public policy reasoning behind the Court’s decision.
There are no easy answers to cases such as Joanna’s, but certainly for the time being the only person that can be held liable, is the person that causes the actual harm.
There’s Snow Need to Worry!
Having had the first snow falls of the winter and with more predicted for the coming week, you may be worrying about what you should you or shouldn’t do about clearing snow and ice.
Every single winter, someone somewhere, likes to worry all decent, helpful neighbours by suggesting that they may be sued if they clear snow from their paths and driveways and then someone falls and is injured.
This is ridiculous! When it comes to making a legal claim, there is a big difference between a simple accident and someone acting negligently. To be responsible for someone’s injury, the person clearing the snow would have to be negligent and make the conditions worse. An example of negligence would be if someone used hot water to melt the snow which then re-freezes and creates a dangerous sheet of ice. To do this would defy any common sense! If you are sensible, use a shovel and some salt/grit, you won’t be able to go wrong.
For further advice on snow clearing go to www.rospa.com/wintersafety or www.gov.uk/clear-snow-road-path-cycleway
TAX FREE EXTRA INCOME
By signing up to the ‘rent a room’ scheme, not only could you enjoy the extra income from the rent, but also up to £4,250 a year is free from tax. ‘Rent a room’ relief is an optional scheme that lets you receive up to this amount in rent each year from a lodger, tax-free. !is only applies if you rent out furnished accommodation in your own home.
LANDLORD’S ENERGY SAVING ALLOWANCE
You can claim ‘landlord’s energy saving allowance’ for the cost of buying and installing certain energy-saving products for properties you rent. You can also claim a special tax allowance of up to £1,500 for insulation, draught proofing and installing a hot water system.
COSTS YOU CAN OFFSET AGAINST TAX
If you rent out property, don’t forget you can deduct certain costs before declaring your taxable income. !e costs you can offset against tax are numerous, including mortgage interest; lettings agents’ and accountants’ fees; insurance; utility bills; council tax; cleaning; and maintenance and repairs (but not improvements – building an extension will enhance the value of your property, but you can’t claim it as a daily expense in the running of that property).
Plan ahead for your exterior maintenance.
Now the days are starting to get a bit lighter and Spring is just around the corner (famous last words) it is an ideal time to have a good look at the exterior of your property and see what maintenance work needs to be done. Check windows, sills, doors and fascias for any paint blistering, peeling or cracking. If you find areas that are showing these symptoms this means that moisture is getting into the wood underneath and will eventually cause rot within.
The ideal time to re coat exterior surfaces of your property is Spring, Summer and early Autumn. All flaking and defective decorative coatings need to be scraped back and the wood underneath needs to be completely dry before repainting. If it is not dry and is painted over then the warmth of the sun will in effect just steam the moisture inside- leading to early paint failure and probable rot.
If you have external render check for flaky/powdery areas and cracks. Also look for areas covered with algae. The sooner you nip these problems in the bud the more financial sense it makes- spend a little now, or end up having to spend alot later when these problems have spread.
Finding a decent tradesman/woman to do this work should not be that difficult, though I have heard and seen some horror stories from people, who have in good faith employed someone who has the attitude " if you can p*** you can paint".
Try to get two or three written quotes for the work you want done. Make sure they detail exactly what it is you are paying for and what preparation is involved.Preparation takes time but is key to a long lasting quality finish. Also specify what materials are to be used and that they are of a specific quality- not the cheapest substitute available. With materials you really do get what you pay for.
Whoever you decide to use do not be afraid to be" picky". Before you pay any money check the work over(snagging) make sure everything is done to your satisfaction and if you have any niggles bring it to the attention of your decorator- a good one will be only too pleased to put things right and be able to leave your property in the knowledge that you are totally satisfied with the work they have done.
/pat-bentley.html A good decorator will enhance your home/work environment, protect your most valuable asset and save you money on maintenance in the long term.
The new trend for shortlisting is to go Blind.
I must confess that I rarely get excited or motivated to watch any Saturday night talent entertainment shows. All except one. The launch of the 4th series of BBC’s “The Voice” is about to start this weekend.
My attraction for this show is not solely based on listening to such incredibly blessed individuals with clear and remarkable talents. My attraction to this show is the fact that judgements on the acts presented to them are made purely by performance alone and without the interference of an assessment on the looks and the overall exterior package of the individual. I am always fascinated by the body language and comments made by the judges when they view the contestant for the first time. They did not turn during the act but when they see the whole package (both talent and image) they sometimes perceive a missed opportunity.
Now, I am not here preaching cliches about "never judge a book by its cover" or "beauty within" but I do worry how we all (including myself at times) default to how a look of an individual determines their suitability and effectiveness. I do understand that built within all of us is the ability to assess an individual quickly based on looks, body language and the tone of voice.
The ever increasing popularity of the social media as a very useful pool to fish for talent. Potential employers and recruiters can see so much data about the individual's work history as well as achievements and successes. On the flip side it could also reveal very unflattering images of the candidate. Generally, if you fit the corporate image you have immediately made a step forward in the race for the position before any assessment has taken place.
Image compatibility of the candidate alone can be a very costly hire. The quick assessment of an individual suitability does not always lie in the social media photo of the individual but within the CV presentation.
Over the years I have had countless conversations with hiring managers who describe the discrepancy between the highly presentable and professionally formatted CV and the individual who attends the 1st stage interview. I appreciate that this is a subject matter all in itself for a blog another time. My point I am trying to make is that assessing an individual solely on photo or what keywords and layout of a CV as a way to shortlist candidates can result in a superficial match and once employed discover inconsistencies and deficiencies in the worker’s ability.
However, before inviting an individual for interview solely based on image or what you see within a CV, invite individuals in the spirit of like "The Voice" and shortlist blind.
Blueprint for Blind Shortlisting
Advertise your vacancy utilising all methods of social media, job boards, personal recommendations and direct the individuals to one location. Once you have captured the candidate’s attention you present them with an engaging video.
The video sole purpose is to communicate clearly the culture of your company, your mission and values, your expectations and scope of the role. This opportunity to present such a compelling case for both the passive and active jobseeker that your organisation is the right place for them.
When the candidates are interested and engaged with the vacancy then invite them to take part in an on-line 1st stage virtual interview. The objective of the virtual interview is to gather extensive data on the candidate's knowledge, career aspirations, core values compatibility; relevant competency based problem solving as well as relevant situational questions. The combined use of text, image and video to extract responses from candidates to help educate, inform and assess as well as keeping the interest level high and committed.
One clear benefit is the ability to reduce the time allocated for conducting pre-qualifying telephone calls or large scale 1st stage face to face interviews. The data would also be helpful resource for organisation involved in costly assessment days. Clearly the need to see how a candidate interacts with another is vital within assessment days, but you can shorten the length of qualifying time to reach the shortlisted candidates.
Therefore, armed with comprehensive data with which you have a greater grasp of who is sitting in front of you and instead of data gathering questions during the initial stages of the interview, probe for additional data on the responses you do have.
The decision on the successful candidate has been influenced by systematic data harvesting and comparison to the employer’s ideals. The analysis of situational responses can reveal compatibility that when a situation presents itself (usually after honeymoon period) that you can be confident that the individual default response is satisfactory.
The Blind shortlisting method is the way forward and that on-line systems like nutsandboltsit.co.uk can help you maximise time, reduce shortlisting costs as well protect against unfair discriminations claims. The new trend in shortlisting is to go Blind.
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