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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 22517
Experience:  PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
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My local council neglected to cctv in a high use area well

Customer Question

my local council neglected to cctv in a high use area well known to the police as a "black spot" for serious attacks. I was the latest victim, having my mandible fractured by 10 youths smoking crack and weed, which the police were unable to identify due to the lack of cctv
JA: Since laws vary from place to place, what state is this in? And when did this happen?
Customer: its in Grays essex, uk
JA: What action has been taken so far? What's your ideal outcome?
Customer: the police have been completely unable to find any of the assailants. they found their DNA of the splif they were smoking but due to them not being on their system they cannot identify them. I've already applied for the cica claim (still in progress) and was rejected for PIP because i've not been off work for 6 months. my ideal outcome is a substantial compensation from thurrock council, a written apology for putting up "No Alcohol signs" instead of cctv when they new it was a black spot and the state of the art CCTV system with night vision installed in the area
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: not that I can think of
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Stuart J replied 2 months ago.

Good afternoon. Thank you for the question. It is my pleasure to assist you with this today.

How do you and everyone else know that this is a blackspot for serious attacks? Do you have any statistics? Have the local authority proposed putting CCTV in this area and then decided not to do so?

Any missing background would be really useful please. Thank you

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
The investigating PC informed that they have requested the installation of cctv in the area for several years now and that they consider it a black spot for crime, it's why the council put up the no alcohol signs in the first place. we can also confirm this as in the year that we have been living in the area has been cordoned of by police over 3 time (excluding my turn) once with a body bag being let through. I believe that there is mention of the area several times in the council meeting minutes, however I haven't had a chance to research it yet.
Expert:  Stuart J replied 2 months ago.

Thank you. The reason that I asked how everybody knew it was a black spot was because the status of your knowledge as to whether it was a black spot would be very relevant as to whether you were partly negligent for going into such a spot.

Unfortunately, there is no absolute duty on the local authority to provide CCTV and indeed, it’s a relatively new innovation which to all intents and purposes did not exist 30 years ago.

To bring a claim against the council, either the council would have needed to create the problem and not simply be aware of its existence Or there would have to be a statutory duty on the local authority to provide CCTV.

There is no statutory duty.

I’m sorry to say that I think any claim that you brought would fail but probably not for the reason you think. I think it would fail for fear of “opening the floodgates”. This is a legal decision made by the courts which was recently used in a case of Hill v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire.

If there was a duty on the local authority to provide CCTV, and they didn’t do so, it would lead to a raft of claims the people who have been on the receiving end of an incident which could have been but was not covered by CCTV. I’m sorry to say that it isn’t one that I would be taken to court with any hope of winning unless you had a lot of money to fund the legal costs. I think it unlikely that you would find a firm of solicitors that would take this on a no win no fee basis.

You can of course make a complaint to the local authority and if that doesn’t bear fruit, you can make a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman but I doubt very much that compensation is going to be forthcoming.

If the matter had been discussed in the Council and they had taken the decision not to put CCTV in this area, you could apply for judicial review of the decision. That’s probably going to cost you £10,000 or so if you lose so it’s not going to be underta***** *****ghtly. However even if successful, it would not necessarily reverse the decision it would only make the council revisit the decision as to whether to install CCTV or not. The end decision may be the same. Even if they come to the conclusion that they should have install CCTV and they decide to do so now, it will not provide you with any compensation.

I’m sorry, I know it’s not the answer you wanted but nonetheless, does it answer the question?

Can I answer any points arising from this?

Please don’t forget to use the rating service to rate my answer positively. If you don’t rate it positively, I don’t get any credit from my time today.

However even after rating, the thread does remain open and if anything else need clarification, we can still exchange emails.

Kind regards.

Stuart.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
thank you for your help but I still don't understand how Hill v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire is similar to my case. In the case of the yorkshire ripper there wasn't one single location that was considered higher risk than any other, as he was attacking in several locations, while in this instance the location is well known as a black spot, while the perpetrators are unknown. Also it's not the police that are at fault as they have repeatedly requested cctv installed but rather the council itself for not implementing recommendations from the CID on several occasions, hell it was the reason why the police were unable to capture the culprits involved with the "Acid Attack" (https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/1837530/teen-yobs-attacked-each-other-with-acid-in-mass-train-station-brawl-which-left-man-in-hospital/)
Expert:  Stuart J replied 2 months ago.

Hill purely illustrates the floodgates principle. That’s all I was getting at. Nothing to do with the location.

It clearly is a blackspot and clearly you suffered a horrific injury at the hands of the jobs, but it doesn’t change my answer I’m sorry to say.

By all means go ahead and sue the council and do try to get a solicitor that would deal with this for you because you may get one. However, I would not be hopeful of finding a solicitor and I would not be hopeful of a positive result.

I have no interest in saying whether you have a good claim or a bad claim and indeed, if I said you had a good claim, I have a more of getting a positive rating from you but I have a duty to advise you honestly which is what I must do.

It would be easy to say you have a fantastic claim, go ahead and go for it and you will get thousands of pounds from the council’s but I think it’s unlikely.