DSD and NBV’s Story: Holding the Police to account

Two police officers

In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that the police owed human rights damages to two victims of John Worboys- the black cab driver responsible for a large number of sexual offences. DSD and NBV (they asked to remain anonymous) reported to the police that they had been sexually assaulted in 2003 and 2007.

DSD was attacked in 2003, this was one of the first attacks by Worboys. After her assault Worboys was not identified as the perpetrator. In NBV’s case, following an attack in 2007, Worboys was quickly arrested as a suspect but released without charge.

Due to what the court said were significant errors, officers failed to charge the London black-cab driver at that stage. Worboys went on the assault as many as 100 more women.

Our Supreme Court (the top court in the UK) found the police, as a public body, accountable under the Human Rights Act. This means that even when crimes are committed by a private citizen, the state can still be held to account. In this case, the police for failing to undertake a proper investigation which left the woman exposed to inhuman and degrading treatment.

This case should serve to help the police and the criminal justice system at large to understand that such victims cannot and should not be ignored or treated with indifference, that they will be held to account if they fail to do their job in relation to such crimes.

This is a summary of a legal case: Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis (Appellant) v DSD and another (Respondents).

You can also read our blog on this case here.