Police Misconduct

The police and other state bodies have a duty to protect individuals and provide security. We put our faith in them to keep us safe and to treat us fairly. Unfortunately that is not always the case and sometimes police overstep the mark, act oppressively, unfairly or negligently.

Ben Hoare Bell LLP has specialist solicitors with experience in the following areas:

  • Unlawful arrest (also known as wrongful arrest)
  • Unnecessary or unreasonable time spent in custody (also known as false imprisonment)
  • Unreasonable force by the police (including assault and the use of CS spray and Taser guns)
  • Prosecution without good cause (also known as malicious prosecution)
  • Inquests and deaths in custody
  • Lost or damaged property at the hands of police
  • Judicial review of public body decisions, such as the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), and a Coroner at an Inquest
  • Breaches of human rights
  • Civil liberties and Protest law
  • Misfeasance (abuse of power by the police)

Richard Hardy is a specialist in actions against the police. He has many years’ experience in this field and is part of the Police Actions Lawyers Group (PALG).

Please contact our Police Misconduct team to discuss your case in more detail on a no obligation basis.

We offer appointments at our Newcastle, Gateshead and Sunderland offices.

In the video below Richard gives a brief introduction to Police Misconduct.

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MAKING A COMPLAINT

There are many situations where you might feel like a victim of police misconduct. If you have experienced unsatisfactory treatment by the police you are entitled to make a complaint. Depending on the nature of the complaint it will be investigated by either the Police Force itself or with varying levels of involvement by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). Complaints may include treatment that was degrading, embarrassing or involved the use of unreasonable force. It could also include instances where you were treated unfairly, such as being kept in custody longer than necessary, or where you were arrested when you should not have been.

If any of these situations apply to you, or if you believe you are a victim of police misconduct in any other way you deserve to have your voice heard. When this happens there are procedures in place to ensure the police are held accountable and justice is upheld.

At Ben Hoare Bell we are committed to fighting your corner and achieving justice. To ensure your complaint is worthwhile and effective it is important that you receive legal advice from a specialist in actions against the police.

Most clients want to know what will happen as a result of their complaint. As a police complaint is made about an individual police officer the likely outcomes if successful are either disciplinary proceedings or criminal proceedings, depending on the circumstances. Making a complaint that is likely to reach one of these outcomes involves a complex process. This is why we are committed to guiding and advising you at every stage, ensuring the complaint has the strongest chance of success.

If your objective is to receive a cash sum making a complaint is not suitable. In order to receive a financial award for the wrongdoing that you have suffered you will need to make a claim for compensation. Making a complaint and submitting a claim for compensation can be done at the same time. However you should seek specialist legal advice to ensure you do what is right in your situation.


MAKING A CLAIM

Different factors are taken into account when your compensation is decided, which is why it is difficult to estimate without investigation. Factors include the misconduct itself and how serious it was, whether you have fully recovered since the event or if it will have a long term effect, and the extent of your suffering, including possible injuries.

If you were unlawfully detained the length of your detention is a significant factor in assessing the value of your claim. The longer you were detained the more valuable your claim. Guidance on the value of unlawful detention claims was given by the Court of Appeal in Thompson and Hsu v The Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis (1997). Updating for inflation and other factors means that generally the first hour of unlawful detention has a value in the region of £750 and 24 hours unlawful detention has a value of approximately £4750. Other factors may increase the value of a claim from these starting points.


JUDICIAL REVIEW

Judicial review is a Court process available to challenge a decision made by a public body. The High Court assesses whether the decision was made lawfully. This could include challenging a decision made by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) or a Coroner’s verdict at an inquest.

In most cases a judicial review claim must be brought within 3 months from the date of the decision. Therefore you must act quickly and seek legal advice as soon as you want to challenge a decision.

The nature of judicial review is that it is used as a last resort. The court will only look at a judicial review claim if there were no other options available. Less serious incidents of police misconduct are also unlikely to be accepted by the court.

Given the gravity of judicial review there are limited cases where it could be a potential route. Our specialist solicitors will discuss the options with you to ensure we establish the best course of action for your specific circumstances. Legal Aid funding can be available for judicial review claims.