LETTER:Police payouts

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The Independent Online
From Mr D. S. Hamilton

Sir: You state that police in London paid out nearly pounds 1.4m in damages during 1994 and won "outright only 24 out of 304 cases" (report, 27 January). While the former statement is accurate, the latter gives a misleading impression.

During the 1994 calendar year, the Metropolitan Police received 489 writs and summonses and paid out agreed damages in 174 cases. However, the majority of the 174 cases settled had been received prior to 1994 and are not, therefore, included in the figure of 489.

A total of 34 cases were tried in court. The Metropolitan Police won in all causes of action in 23 of those cases, while the plaintiff won in one or more causes of action in 11 cases.

On average over the past five years, the Metropolitan Police have paid out damages in less than a third of the cases where a writ or summons had been received and made payments, before proceedings started, in just under one in 10 cases.

Yours sincerely,

D. S. Hamilton

Solicitors Department

Metropolitan Police Service

London, SW1

2 February