Two policemen spotted a motorcyclist speeding in the early hours of the morning as he came back from a party. They flashed their blue lights to indicate he should stop.

He did not do so but continued home where he went through his gate into the front yard and then stopped.

One officer left the car and spoke to him, instructing him to switch his engine off and get off the bike. The other officer drove the police car close to the motorcycle to prevent any escape.

As he did so, the motorcyclist got off and the police car drove into his leg.

On appeal, it was held the officer had driven negligently by driving his car too close to the motorcycle. An officer was entitled to use his car to prevent an escape but not in this case where there would be any foreseeable risk of injury.

There might be circumstances where a dangerous suspect was at large where the car could be used as a trap or barrier even though it might create a risk of injuring a suspect. But that was not the case here.

Having realised the motorcyclist would dismount, they should have given him enough room to do so in safety. Driving so close to the motorcycle fell below the standards of a reasonably skilful and careful driver.

The police officer was liable. However, the claimant was 60 per cent to blame for failing to stop in good time when asked before he reached the gate leading into his property.

Michael H -v- Thames Valley Police CA 14 January 2010