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Duty to assist in saving life?


Equin0x
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With the Diana statue being unveiled recently there was some talk about the crash and how paparazzi at the scene got into trouble for "failing to assist" which is a crime in France. I'm sure every right minded person would agree that in a situation like that there is a moral duty to assist if you are capable and it's safe to do so but is that backed up by legislation in the UK?

I know there's a rarely used offence of failing to assist a constable, but what about failing to assist a random member of the public?

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1 minute ago, Equin0x said:

With the Diana statue being unveiled recently there was some talk about the crash and how paparazzi at the scene got into trouble for "failing to assist" which is a crime in France. I'm sure every right minded person would agree that in a situation like that there is a moral duty to assist if you are capable and it's safe to do so but is that backed up by legislation in the UK?

I know there's a rarely used offence of failing to assist a constable, but what about failing to assist a random member of the public?

There is no such offence or no such legal duty by members of the public to act, with the exception of failing to assist a constable. Which I imagine would be near impossible to prosecute today as soon as someone said they didn’t feel safe doing so. 

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36 minutes ago, Equin0x said:

With the Diana statue being unveiled recently there was some talk about the crash and how paparazzi at the scene got into trouble for "failing to assist" which is a crime in France. I'm sure every right minded person would agree that in a situation like that there is a moral duty to assist if you are capable and it's safe to do so but is that backed up by legislation in the UK?

I know there's a rarely used offence of failing to assist a constable, but what about failing to assist a random member of the public?

No such offence. 

As @Equin0xsaid closest thing would be the common law offence of failing to assist a constable but this hasn't been use for some time and I doubt the CPS would prosecute any cases put to them either in this day and age. 

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I am afraid that the Paparrazi and their ethics is, sadly, just about getting a story or a picture.  Members of the public would act differently. Usually you find that any medical trained staff will stop and help out.  As far as Police Officers are concerned it becomes an almost automatic reaction to take any action necessary to save life. That covers about everything from RTC's, to drownings, fires, etc.

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As everyone else has said there is no legal requirement to assist and personally speaking I've never heard of anyone being arrested for failing to assist a constable and I dare say I ever will. 

However as@Zulu 22 + said, most decent people will assist if they think that they can help, whether it's in a medical sense or just helping out in general. 

 

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I wonder if that is a thing that is put into practice in France?

Morally speaking, yes you should. Sometimes folk say "don't put yourself at risk/into danger", well my answer to that is, some things are worth risking yourself for, e.g. saving a life/assisting someone in distress. 

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1 hour ago, Wilts20 said:

I wonder if that is a thing that is put into practice in France?

Morally speaking, yes you should. Sometimes folk say "don't put yourself at risk/into danger", well my answer to that is, some things are worth risking yourself for, e.g. saving a life/assisting someone in distress. 

It may sound cowardly but I'm not sure I would risk my own life to save someone else. I would certainly do everything I possibly could without risking my own safety.

 

Do you think there should be a legal requirement to help, and if so would there be any limits on it? Should you be required to risk your own safety, would being afraid for your own life count as a valid defence?

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2 minutes ago, Equin0x said:

It may sound cowardly but I'm not sure I would risk my own life to save someone else. I would certainly do everything I possibly could without risking my own safety.

 

Do you think there should be a legal requirement to help, and if so would there be any limits on it? Should you be required to risk your own safety, would being afraid for your own life count as a valid defence?

There is little actual need for new laws, what’s needed is proper enforcement of the laws we have. 

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12 minutes ago, Ether said:

There is little actual need for new laws, what’s needed is proper enforcement of the laws we have. 

But do you think there should be a law that makes it mandatory for people to assist? Even if it was only required when there was no risk to yourself.

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39 minutes ago, Equin0x said:

But do you think there should be a law that makes it mandatory for people to assist? Even if it was only required when there was no risk to yourself.

No, how can you ever expect that from an untrained member of the public.

 

There should be an offence of failing to comply with a lawful command from a police officer 

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2 hours ago, Wilts20 said:

Morally speaking, yes you should. Sometimes folk say "don't put yourself at risk/into danger", well my answer to that is, some things are worth risking yourself for, e.g. saving a life/assisting someone in distress. 

Agree entirely. I've been witness to a number of incidents involving ambulance services or the police, and most individuals are content to stand and watch but not actually assist. In one instance where myself and my friend were trying to tend to a man whilst waiting on emergency services, one individual was overheard telling her friend that she didn't want to help because he was homeless and "disgusting."

To the credit of some, there have been a fair few people I've witnessed stepping in to help - it's just a shame that, in the cases of some, a picture or video recording is more important than administering aid.

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3 hours ago, Equin0x said:

It may sound cowardly but I'm not sure I would risk my own life to save someone else. I would certainly do everything I possibly could without risking my own safety.

 

Do you think there should be a legal requirement to help, and if so would there be any limits on it? Should you be required to risk your own safety, would being afraid for your own life count as a valid defence?

Ah, well of course it depends in the situation and of course what you position you are in too. 

I've only had to do it once, when I was a teenager but there was not very much danger to me.

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2 hours ago, Tudor1695 said:

Agree entirely. I've been witness to a number of incidents involving ambulance services or the police, and most individuals are content to stand and watch but not actually assist. In one instance where myself and my friend were trying to tend to a man whilst waiting on emergency services, one individual was overheard telling her friend that she didn't want to help because he was homeless and "disgusting."

To the credit of some, there have been a fair few people I've witnessed stepping in to help - it's just a shame that, in the cases of some, a picture or video recording is more important than administering aid.

Yes that's an interesting point - who they are etc. It also depends how much each citizen sees themselves as a person with responsibilities, or just a 'John Doe' & nothing to do with me. Or even worse, as you say - entertainment value!

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Seeing people standing around and not helping is frustrating, but they might well have their own reasons for not assisting; but when you see someone standing there and filming or snapping pictures, not to provide evidence of a crime but to simply share and upload for their own amusement, it does make the blood boil.

Still, as mentioned, there are those who do help, and they're to be commended.

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2 hours ago, Ether said:

No, how can you ever expect that from an untrained member of the public.

 

There should be an offence of failing to comply with a lawful command from a police officer 

I know this is scenario fantasy land, but in the context of the OP, how could it be a lawful to tell someone to do something they are not legally required to do?

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