To Serve and Protect Whom? Proximity in Cases of Police Failure to Protect
This article examines the duty of care owed by police to potential victims of crime, focusing
specifically on the issue of proximity. The author surveys both Canadian and UK cases in
order to examine the factors that potentially give rise to a special relationship in these
circumstances, and compares the Canadian courts’ more plaintiff-friendly approach to the
English courts’ persistent refusal to recognize proximity in the relationship between the
police and victims of crime. The case law is then analyzed in order to shed light on the utility
and content of the proximity requirement for the duty of care, taking into consideration the
factual context, statutory framework, and policy considerations.
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