Compensation for claims against the police
The latest statistics from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) show that there are some 35,000 complaints each year about the police. Many of these complaints concern some form of misconduct such as wrongful arrest, assault or discrimination.
If your civil liberties or human rights have been infringed as a result of some form of police misconduct, then you may be entitled to compensation. It’s worth discussing your situation with a solicitor in confidence to find out whether you are able to make a claim.
What is police misconduct?
The majority of legal actions against the police for misconduct involve wrongful arrest, unlawful imprisonment and assault or injuries resulting from excessive force which has been used during restraint. However, there are many other types of misconduct, including:
- malicious prosecution – where a prosecution is conducted spitefully and without reasonable or probable cause
- misconduct in public office – where an officer acts unlawfully, knows that they are acting unlawfully and does so knowing that their actions are likely to cause loss or harm
- Human Rights Act breaches (e.g. not protecting your data or conducting an unlawful strip search)
- trespass to property or goods (e.g. if police forcefully enter your home without a warrant or damage your property or possessions)
- discrimination (eg. racial, sexual, religious etc)
- unlawful stop and search (often in conjunction with racial discrimination)
- breaches of the Bail Act 1976
- breaches of the Police and Criminal Evidence (PACE) Act 1984
Simply call us on
0148 278 7771 for free advice
Assault and battery
Any physical force which has been used in the course of making an arrest must be reasonable and proportionate. The arrest itself must also have been lawful; otherwise it may be considered as assault. Any weapons used by the police, such as batons, tear gas, Taser guns or firearms, will be taken into account when a decision is being made as to whether the force used was reasonable.
If you have not committed an offence and an action is used which causes you to fear for your physical safety (eg. a police officer raises their truncheon) this action may – in itself, and without any actual physical contact – constitute assault. If physical contact is also made this may be considered battery.
Wrongful arrest and unlawful imprisonment
The power to arrest a citizen should only be used by the police as a last resort. There must be a lawful reason to make an arrest in the first place; otherwise this can be considered to be a wrongful arrest. In making an arrest, a certain procedure must be followed; amongst other things, the arresting officer must identify themselves, tell you what crime you are suspected of having committed and explain why an arrest is necessary.
Once you have been arrested, you can only be held in police custody for up to 24 hours; after that the police must either charge you with a crime or release you. Extensions can be applied for – up to 36 or 96 hours if you’re suspected of a serious crime and 14 days if you’re arrested under the Terrorism Act. If you are held for longer than appropriate this can constitute unlawful imprisonment.
There are some circumstances under which you may have a claim for false imprisonment by the police even if you were not actually taken into custody. Misuse of stop and search powers and containing crowds without letting individuals leave an area (known as “kettling”) can potentially lead to compensation claims of unlawful imprisonment.
There are also procedures which the police must follow whilst you are in custody. If these are not followed then any ongoing detention could be unlawful.
Shocking levels of sexual exploitation carried out by police officers in England and Wales were exposed in a report which described the problem as a “disease” and labelled it the ‘most serious form’ of corruption facing forces across the UK.
The main findings outlined in the report were:
- More than 300 officers, 20 PCSOs and 8 other members of staff were involved in 436 reported allegations over a two-year period to March 2016 – the equivalent of 18 allegations a month.
- All but one constabulary in the UK had a complaint against them.
- Many of the victims of exploitation were already classed as being ‘vulnerable’.
Less than half of the complaints (48%) were referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), and there was a disproportionally low number of dismissals compared to the number of complaints made.
Concerns were also raised that officers did not seem to have an understanding about the boundaries which should exist when dealing with “vulnerable” people and victims of crime.
If you have been a victim of any form of exploitation at the hands of a police employee, you can call us in confidence for sympathetic, impartial and free legal advice.
For more information, please watch our police misconduct video
Simply call us on
0148 278 7771 for free advice
Making a claim against the police for misconduct
Bringing a legal action against the police will not cost you a penny up front, and if successful, you will only be expected to pay a contribution to your solicitor’s fees and any insurance (if required) at the conclusion.
These costs are usually a percentage of the compensation you are awarded.
No win no fee
- personal insurance cover so there’s no financial risk to you in pursuing a claim
- whatever the outcome of your case, you won’t have to pay a penny (provided that you fully assist us with your claim) other than an agreed percentage of your damages