Civil Liberties

I was wrongfully arrested, what are my compensation rights?

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Iftikhar Manzoor

Team Leader & Senior Litigation Executive

6 min read time
20 Apr 2023

You’re more likely to be arrested by police in Humberside than anywhere else in England and Wales according to official figures.

Humberside Police has the highest arrest rate of 42 forces – with 21 arrests for every 1,000 people across Hull, The East Riding of Yorkshire and northern parts of Lincolnshire, including Grimsby and Scunthorpe.

Compare that with Devon and Cornwall Police with a rate of seven arrests for every 1,000 people.

These Government figures are based on data provided by all police forces in England and Wales for two years – Lancashire Police was the only force unable to provide figures. While Cleveland has the highest crime rate in England and Wales, Humberside has the sixth.

Police forces with highest arrest rates:

  • Humberside – 21 arrests per 1,000 people
  • Cleveland – 17
  • Kent – 17
  • South Wales – 17
  • North Wales – 16
  • Cumbria – 15
  • Northumbria – 15

In the year up to March 2019 there were 671,126 arrests in England and Wales – 5,000 fewer than the year before and while numbers have been steadily declining, ethnicity continues to be a defining factor.

Black people are over three-times as likely to be arrested as white people – there were 32 arrests for every 1,000 black people, and 10 arrests for every 1,000 white people.

People who identify as having mixed ethnicity were nearly twice as likely to be arrested.

The biggest difference in the arrest rates between black people and white people was in Dorset, where black people were almost 14 times as likely to be arrested.

Police at a demo

Complaints against the police

Although police forces are generally making fewer arrests the number of related complaints remains significant.

According to The Independent Office for Police Conduct in 2019 – 2020 complaints made for ‘unlawful / unnecessary arrest or detention’ totalled 1,764.

Wrongful arrest

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.

Any equipment used by the police (such as batons, tear gas, Taser guns, or firearms) will also be taken into account when a decision is being made as to whether the force used was reasonable and lawful.

When making an arrest, police must follow a set procedure. Amongst other things, the arresting officer must identify themselves, tell the individual what crime they are suspected of having committed, and explain why an arrest is necessary.

Read more: What is ‘wrongful arrest’?

David Prosser

One of our clients, David Prosser suffered serious injuries following a police arrest. Officers from Humberside Police punched and kicked him after he was handcuffed and arrested.

Mr Prosser had been in Hull city centre socialising with work colleagues. He suffered a head injury in the arrest, which was captured on CCTV, and later awarded a five-figure settlement after the force agreed to pay damages.

Mr Prosser, admitted to having been drunk on the night, but says the approach of officers, has left him distrusting. He was left with his arm in a cast for six weeks and longer term issues such as headaches, poor memory and concentration.

Read more: Humberside Police pay damages to man handcuffed, punched and kicked

Wrongful detention

Police forces must have a genuine reason for arresting an individual and detaining them in custody and must follow set procedures to stay within the law themselves.

Should an arrest be deemed unlawful (no genuine reason or need for making the arrest), then any related period in detention would also be classed as unlawful.

Hudgell Solicitors’ specialist police claims team secured damages of £3,750 for a man who was unlawfully arrested and held in custody for 21 hours by the Metropolitan Police after voluntarily attending at a police station.

The man was told by his daughter that police officers had called at his home to speak to him about allegations of criminal damage.

He agreed to voluntarily attend the nearest station but when he arrived, rather than sitting him down for questioning under caution, he was arrested on the spot and spent 21 hours in custody, without being charged, and never subsequently facing any charges at all.

“I would never have believed the police could act as they did had it not happened to me,” said the man, who has asked for only his first name, Isaac, to be used.

“The powers of arrest given to the police are not for things like this. They can’t just lock people up on the most trivial of matters. I am glad I took legal advice, and I am happy that they have now been held to account for their actions.”

Read more: Damages of £3,750 awarded to man held in custody after voluntarily attending at a police station

woman arrested

Another client Hudgell Solicitors represented was a woman who was held in police cells for 12 hours after she voluntarily attended at a police station. Officers then told her she had no case to answer following a 15-minute interview.

She was only made aware that she had been arrested on suspicion of fraud when she was able to speak to a criminal solicitor. She was also informed her property had been searched.

Our experts in false imprisonment rightly claimed that officers failed to inform our client clearly of the grounds of arrest.

Read more: Woman compensated after force locked her up for 12 hours with no case to answer

When somebody is wrongfully arrested in relation to a serious offence, it can have a highly damaging and entirely unfair long-term impact on their lives.

In many of the wrongful arrest claims against police forces we handle at Hudgell Solicitors, the victims are honest, upstanding members of society.

Our team are highly experienced in supporting people who have been wrongfully arrested in making claims against the police force involved.

While we all understand, and to a degree accept, that wrongful arrests will happen as part of the police trying to get to the bottom of cases, there still has to be a genuine reason for each and every arrest carried out.

If you feel you were wrongfully arrested, contact our police claims team today for free advice as time limits do apply to these claims.

Read more: Wrongful Arrest

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I was wrongfully arrested, what are my compensation rights?

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