HNK Solicitors have a dedicated action against the police case handling team, with experience of handling hundreds of successful civil action claims. These cover a wide variety of cases ranging from unlawful stop and search, to unlawful arrest. Our team is highly experienced in helping clients claim compensation after they have suffered police misconduct or mistreatment by the police.
In March 2020, a client approached HNK Solicitors to act on his behalf for this reason. HNK accepted instructions on a no-win no-fee basis and the case was handled by Trainee Solicitor, Vivien Lee.
Background of the action against the police case
On the 26th of February 2020, R was riding his bike with his friend when he was approached by the Defendant’s officers. He was searched pursuant to section 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence (PACE) Act 1984 due to robberies in the surrounding area.
Following a negative search, one of the officers asked the Claimant for his personal details. The Claimant refused to provide this and as a result, he was arrested for acting in an anti-social manner and for failing to provide his name and address under section 50 of the Police Reform Act 2002.
R was then handcuffed and put in the police carrier. At this point, his father approached the Defendant’s officers and made them aware of R’s name, date of birth and home address.
Despite the officers being aware of the Claimant’s personal details, R was taken to the police station where he was strip-searched. After being imprisoned for almost 6 hours, he was released with no further action.
Section 1 of PACE allows a police officer to detain and search a person, in public, if they have reasonable grounds to suspect they will find stolen or prohibited articles.
Section 2 of PACE states that prior to a search, the searching police officer must take reasonable steps to inform the person who will be searched of the following:
- their name and the name of the police station to which they are attached,
- the object of the proposed search,
- the officer’s grounds for making the search,
- their entitlement to a copy of the search record.
Section 50 of the Police Reform Act 2002 allows a police officer to ask for a person’s name and address if he believe the person has been acting, or is acting in an anti-social manner. Any person who fails to give their name and address or gives a false or inaccurate name or address is guilty of an offence.
When R approached Higgs Newton Kenyon Solicitors in March 2020, HNK accepted instructions on a no-win no-fee basis and the case was handled by Vivien Lee, Trainee Solicitor.
HNK claimed damages for the initial stop and search, the arrest and subsequent imprisonment and an assault and battery for the use of handcuffs.
A letter of claim was served and the Defendant failed to provide their formal response to the letter of claim, however provided disclosure and inspection of the requested documents.
Why this stop and search was unlawful
Vivien Lee reviewed the documents provided by the Defendant and put forward the following submissions of why this was an unlawful stop and search:
- The searching officer could not have formed reasonable grounds to suspect R would have stolen or prohibited articles in his possession on the basis that there were robberies in the area,
- The searching officer breached section 2 of PACE by failing to inform R of her name, the police station to which she’s attached to, the object of the proposed search or his entitlement to a copy of the search, rendering the search unlawful,
- R was not acting in an anti-social manner as his conduct of riding a bike with his friends did not cause anyone harassment, alarm or distress, therefore he was under no legal obligation to provide his name and address when requested,
- As R was not under a legal obligation to provide his name and address, his arrest and subsequent imprisonment was unlawful,
- Given R was falsely arrested, the searching of his person following his arrest and the use of handcuffs constituted an assault and battery, and trespass to his person.
Following the submissions put forward by Vivien Lee, the Defendant agreed to pay the Claimant £9,750 in full and final settlement of his damages and legal costs.
Get help taking action against the police from HNK solicitors if you’ve experienced police misconduct
If you feel you have been wrongly arrested or have suffered an unlawful stop and search without reasonable grounds, HNK can help you claim action against the police. Visit our Actions Against the Police Page to find out more about pursuing a claim. Alternatively, call us on 0151 271 5387 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.