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Unlawful detention compensation rate UK

Being arrested can be a highly traumatic experience. It can also have major consequences for those subjected to it. This can include damage to their reputation and an impact on their employment prospects. For this reason, the police do not have unlimited powers of arrest. Arrests can only be made under specific conditions. If these are not met, you may be entitled to compensation. Read this post to find out about the unlawful detention compensation rate in the UK. We’ll also help you to understand whether your arrest may have been unlawful.

A pair of handcuffs with a key next to them, sitting on a piece of paper covered in fingerprints.

What is unlawful detention?

Before we discuss the unlawful detention compensation rate in the UK, we must explain what unlawful detention is. When the police arrest someone, it infringes on one of the most well-established human rights: the right to liberty. This right is set out in the Human Rights Act 1998.

For this reason, the police can only arrest people if particular conditions are met. Failure to meet these conditions can mean the person in question has been unlawfully detained. That is, their right to liberty has been taken away without a solid legal reason for doing so.

There are two ways that the police can justify making an arrest.

The first is to obtain a warrant. In this case, the police have to present evidence to a judge that justifies the arrest being made. The arrest is thus approved in advance.

The second is to make an arrest without a warrant, based on their judgment that an arrest is justified.

An arrest made without a warrant must involve:

  • A reasonable suspicion that the person has committed, or intends to commit, a crime
  • A justifiable belief that the arrest is necessary

Both of these conditions must be met for an arrest to be legally justified. If one or both of them are not met, then the person being arrested has been unlawfully detained.

The bottom line is that suspicion of criminal activity is not enough. There must be no reasonable alternative to making an arrest. If there was no attempt to find an alternative, then the arrest was not lawful.

However, there are other reasons that can lead to detainment being unlawful.

These include:

  • The proper arrest procedure not being followed
  • Being detained longer than the legal limit

Let’s look a bit more closely at these.

The back of a police car with yellow and orange highlighting driving down a pedestrianised street.

Proper arrest procedure

The police must be able to justify an arrest, but they must also follow the proper process for carrying it out.

  • They must identify themselves as a police officer
  • They must clearly inform you that you are being arrested
  • The crime you are being arrested for must be stated
  • The necessity for your arrest must be explained to you
  • They must tell you that you are not free to leave

As you can see, part of the procedure involves them explaining to you both parts of the justification for your arrest. They must tell you their reasonable suspicion and explain the arrest necessity.

If they fail to do so, then you have been unlawfully and wrongfully detained, and could be owed compensation.

Being detained for longer than the legal limit

If you are detained, there are limits to how long you can be held without being charged or released.

In most cases, this limit is 24 hours.

There are some exceptions to this, however. The police can apply to extend this by a further 12 hours if they believe it is necessary. If you are suspected of a serious crime, this can be extended even further, up to 96 hours. Finally, if you are arrested under the Terrorism Act, you can be detained for 14 days.

If you are detained for longer than 24 hours without the police applying to extend this period, you may have been unlawfully detained. Further, the police should always keep you informed of how long they are able to hold you.

What should I do if I have suffered unlawful detention?

If you believe that you have suffered from unlawful detention, there are a few steps you can take.

The first step is to complain directly to the police force in question. Doing this is an important basis for any further action. For that reason, you should ideally make your complaint in writing. This way, you have evidence that the complaint was made.

For certain kinds of complaints, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) will investigate.

Two police officers in high-visibility vests walking away from the camera toward a busy shopping area.

Can I claim compensation for unlawful detention?

Of course, making a complaint to the police force may not fully redress the wrong you have suffered. Unlawful detainment can be a painful, distressing experience. It is understandable that you may want to seek compensation.

In this case, you will need to file a civil action against the police. In order to do so, it is vital that you speak to experienced solicitors. They will not only be able to advise you if you have a case, they will also help you take it forward in the most effective way.

What is the unlawful detention compensation rate in the UK?

The rate of compensation, as you might expect, depends on various factors.

A key element is how long you were detained for. The longer you were held, the more compensation you are likely to receive.

For shorter periods, the compensation you receive can still amount to hundreds of pounds. Even detention periods as short as five minutes have led to compensation payouts in the region of £200.

If the detention lasts multiple hours and involves improper treatment of the detainee, the compensation involved can be significantly higher, running into the thousands of pounds.

In extreme cases, where there has been some physical injury or substantial distress and shock to the individual as well as a long period of detainment, the compensation rate can be even higher than this.

Get in touch with HNK Solicitors today to start your unlawful detention compensation claim

As you can see, the unlawful detention compensation rate in the UK is not insignificant. And understandably so. The experience of being detained is highly stressful. If an arrest is not carried out properly, this can make matters much worse.

If you are concerned that you were unlawfully detained, or that some aspect of your arrest was improper, get in touch with HNK. We have extensive experience in pursuing compensation for police mistreatment on behalf of our clients. We offer free consultations to help you find out if you have a case. If we believe that you do, we can take it up on a no-win, no-fee basis.

If you would like to speak with a member of our team, fill out the form on our website or give us a call on 0151 271 5387.

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