Actions Against the Police

Unfortunately, as in all organisations, there are times when the police overstep the mark, get things wrong, or are just incompetent. This may result in a person being wrongly arrested, falsely imprisoned or even assaulted.

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It is important to note that just because you are unhappy with the way the police have treated you, or you have been acquitted, does not automatically mean that you have a civil claim for compensation against them, or indeed grounds for a complaint. Police powers are both extensive and complete.

Potential claims

To sue the police, your claim must come within a "cause of action". The main causes of action are set out below:

  • assault
  • false imprisonment
  • wrongful arrest
  • malicious prosecution
  • trespass
  • trespass to goods
  • negligence
  • misfeasance in public office
  • human rights

What can you claim?

If you have a good claim, you will be entitled to "compensatory" damages and in some circumstances, depending on how the police have acted, aggravated or exemplary damages. We can advise you on the level of compensation you could expect.

To help with your claim, as soon as possible after the incident, you should write down exactly what happened in as much detail as you can remember. This should include names, dates, times and any other information you can recall. You should then contact us immediately using the form above. It is important to act quickly as there are various time limits. If claiming under the Human Rights Act your claim must be issued within one year. If your claim is in negligence, within three years, and in most other cases, six years.

In some cases claims can be settled without the need to go to court. However, if necessary Public Funding is available - or in some instances a 'no win no fee' agreement can be agreed.

Get legal help now

If you need legal advice on any of the topics covered on this page, you should try our Instant Law Line service. This service, provided by DAS, can give you access to legal advice over the phone from a qualified legal adviser for a low price.


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