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Can I claim against the police?

The police play a vital role in upholding law and order and keeping the public safe. However, in some circumstances, the standards we expect from police officers are not met. Many news reports in recent years have highlighted a wide range of failings, including ongoing discussions of institutional racism and a culture of misogyny in the police. With all this in mind, it’s easy to become concerned at the prospect of experiencing mistreatment at the hands of the police.

Nevertheless, it’s important to be aware that, if you encounter harmful or inappropriate behaviour on the part of police officers, there are steps you can take to seek redress. And this includes making a claim against the police for compensation.

In this blog post, we’ll give you a clear overview of what’s involved in making a claim against the police. That includes what you can claim against the police for, as well as some advice on how to go about making a claim.

What is a claim against the police?

A claim against the police – often referred to as a civil action against the police – refers to the process of taking a police force to court in order to seek compensation.

As we’ll explain below, there are many reasons why you might be entitled to compensation. Fundamentally, however, compensation is awarded to help offset any damage you may have experienced due to police misconduct.

Police misconduct refers to situations where police officers fail to meet the standards expected of them, as outlined in the Standards of Professional Behaviour. These standards include:

  • Authority, respect and courtesy. Police officers must treat members of the public respectfully and in a tolerant way.
  • Use of restraint. Police officers should use only restrain members of the public if doing so is necessary, proportionate and reasonable in the circumstances.
  • Equality and diversity. Police officers should not discriminate in any way, instead treating everyone equally.

As you can see, these standards set out some fundamental guidelines of behaviour for police officers. They are accompanied by a wide range of rules and procedures that set out how police officers should carry out specific tasks, including conducting a police interview or making an arrest.

If these standards are not met, or if a police officer does not follow the relevant rules and regulations, this can lead to significant harm to those affected. Ultimately, a claim against the police is a way of seeking compensation to help you move on from the damage done by police misconduct.

Let’s look more closely at specific examples of police misconduct that could make you entitled to claim against the police.

A picture of a police officer riding a police motorbike speeding down a street.

What can I claim against the police for?

As we’ve explained above, police misconduct can take many forms. There are a great many regulations governing police conduct, all designed to help protect your rights and keep you safe. If these regulations are breached, the impact on those affected can be severe – and for that reason, those affected may be entitled to claim against the police.

Specific examples of police misconduct that may entitle you to claim include:

  • Wrongful arrest
  • Trespass to the person
  • Unlawful stop and search
  • Discrimination under the Equality Act
  • Assault and battery
  • Negligence

As you can see, there are wide range of ways in which you can be negatively impacted by police officers failing to meet the standards expected of them. If you have experienced any of these issues, you should consider pursuing a civil action against the police.

For a more in-depth overview of different types of police misconduct, read our blog on examples of police misconduct cases. This can help you to decide whether your experience may justify a claim against the police – though if you are unsure, it is always worthwhile to consult an experienced solicitor.

How much compensation could I get for my claim against the police?

The amount of compensation you will receive if you successfully make a claim against the police will depend on a variety of factors. Fundamentally, compensation is intended to help offset the damages you will have experienced as a result of police misconduct. This could include:

  • Financial losses
  • Physical injury
  • Reputational damage
  • Anxiety and distress

As such, the amount of compensation you receive for a successful claim is dependent on which of these impacts you have experienced, and how severe they have been.

For a more in-depth overview of the different levels of damages you may be entitled to, read our blog on police compensation payouts. Alternatively, you can take a look at our case studies page to see at some of the compensation awards we have been able to secure for our clients as a result of police misconduct. This may give you some indication of what you could be entitled to claim.

How can I make a claim against the police?

The prospect of making a claim against the police can be overwhelming. It is certainly a major step, and not to be undertaken lightly. Nevertheless, if you have been a victim of police misconduct, it’s something you should consider seriously. Compensation can be a significant help in moving on with your life following such a distressing incident.

In order to make a claim against the police, you’ll need to take the force responsible for the incident to court to seek damages. To do so, your best option is to consult a solicitor with experience in actions against the police. They’ll be able to:

  • Offer tailored advice. A solicitor can draw on their knowledge and experience to advise you on the strength of your claim, the timeline for making the claim, and the kind of outcome you can expect.
  • Maximise your compensation. An experienced solicitor can help you present the strongest possible case, ensuring that you secure the full amount of compensation you are owed.
  • Streamline the process. A solicitor can take on the many different aspects of the claims process, including amassing the necessary evidence, leaving you free to focus on your recovery.

With the help of a solicitor, making a claim against the police can be a straightforward and manageable process – and one that can result in you receiving compensation that will help you recover from the difficult experience of police misconduct.

A photograph of a police car with blue lights on driving down a high street of shops and businesses.

HNK Solicitors can support your claim against the police

Making a claim against the police is a significant step – but it’s the only way to secure the compensation you deserve if you’ve been a victim of police misconduct. Compensation can help offset any damage you’ve suffered and allow you to move on from the incident, and with the support of an experienced solicitor, it doesn’t have to be a challenging experience.

Here at HNK Solicitors, we’ve helped many of our clients to secure the compensation they deserve after experiencing police misconduct. Our expert team have an in-depth knowledge of the relevant regulations and can present your case in the most compelling way, while offering sensitive, tailored support to help you through the process.

If you’ve been a victim of police misconduct and would like to discuss making a claim against the police, get in touch today for a free consultation, with no obligation to pursue a claim. Call us on 0151 668 0809, or email us at enquiries@hnksolicitors.com.

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