Claims Against The Police

If your civil liberties or human rights have been infringed because of police misconduct, harassment, or abuse of power. You may be entitled to compensation.

Statistics from the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) show that over 35,000 complaints are made each year about the police and a large number then lead to legal action  against the police. 

Making a Claim Against the Police

The majority of legal actions against the police for misconduct involve wrongful arrest, unlawful imprisonment, and assault or injuries resulting from excessive force that 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). 
  • Malicious prosecution – where a prosecution is conducted spitefully and without reasonable or probable cause.
  • 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. 
  • Discrimination (e.g. racial, sexual, religious etc). Under the Equality Act 2010, certain protected characteristics are established – and it is illegal to discriminate against an individual or group of people on the grounds of these protected characteristics, including:
    • Age
    • Disability
    • Gender reassignment
    • Marriage and civil partnership
    • Race
    • Religion or belief
    • Sex
    • Sexual orientation.

    Police officers must carry out their duties in accordance with the Equality Act and not discriminate against people because of their sex, race or disability – or other protected characteristics.

    Disability discrimination not only includes physical disability, but also any mental health condition or learning difficulty. People with a physical disability, learning disability or mental health condition are entitled to be treated with the same respect and care as others – including having their rights explained to them, or making sure that they are adequately represented if they are detained under the Mental Health Act.

    The Equality Act sets out different types of discrimination, which the police must avoid in the course of their duties, including direct and indirect discrimination – and dual discrimination.

    There is a 12-month limitation period for making complaints to the police –complaints made out of this time period are at the discretion of the police force and a reasonable cause for the delay must be given, such as new evidence collected.

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