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Civil Action against the Police: D v The Chief Constable of Merseyside Police

HNK have a specialist team of solicitors who are experts in dealing with civil action against the police. If you have ever been the victim of misconduct by the police or feel you have been mistreated whilst in police custody our Civil Actions against the Police Solicitors can help you to obtain the outcome you desire from the police whether this be a formal apology, disciplinary action against the officer(s) involved or compensation for your mistreatment.

Details of the case

Here we have an example of when we successfully obtained compensation for a client after they had been mistreated by the police. The facts as we pleas them are not agreed with the Defendant. On 7th January 2017, the Claimant was a passenger in J’s vehicle. The vehicle was pulled over by Officers acting under direction and control of the Chief Constable of Merseyside Police. Three officers were in attendance and J exited the vehicle to speak to the officers.

Officer A opened D’s passenger door and asked him for his name so he could conduct a Police National Computer (PNC) search to ascertain whether D had a criminal record. Officer A grabbed D by the left arm and dragged him out of the vehicle to the road side. D was searched under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 which proved negative. Despite this, D was escorted to the back of the police van where he was detained for around 20-30 minutes.

Details of the case

Issues

In January 2017, D approached Higgs Newton Kenyon Solicitors to act on his behalf in the matter. After discussing the case we were happy to accept instructions on a No-Win-No-Fee agreement, so the Defendant did not have to pay legal fees if the case was lost. HNK had concerns that the officers breached their powers of a stop and search given that they had no reasonable or genuine suspicion that prohibited substances would be found on D’s person. Once the search had proved negative, D should have been free to leave, however he was detained in the back of the police van without lawful authority.

Given the officers were not acting in execution of their duties, the use of force and search performed on D was considered  trespass to his person. The power to stop and search is to confirm or allay suspicion. An officer executing a stop and search must back up why they used the power.

It must be executed fairly and not based on ‘stereotypical’ values. A search under the Misuse of Drugs Act must only be carried out if the officer has reasonable and genuine suspicion that the individual is in possession of controlled drugs.

officers breached their powers

In April 2017, the Defendant denied liability on the ground that D was not searched or dragged out of the vehicle. The Defendant alleged that D was allowed to wait in the police van whilst J’s vehicle was searched. In support of their denial, documentation was provided, namely the summary shift reports from the officers involved and a stop/search form. HNK contested this response.

D’s position was confirmed by J who corroborated that D was searched and detained. Upon reviewing the documents provided, HNK referred the Defendant’s attention to the stop/search report that indicated D was spoken to and “searched negative result”. An officer cannot stop a person without reasonable grounds, the power must relate to the suspicion that an item will be found rather than a crime being committed.

D was not under a lawful arrest; therefore, the officers had no lawful authority to justify detention. The Claimant must simply prove that they were confined (unable to move freely), then the onus lies on the Defendant to prove lawful justification. There is no minimum period of detention for a claim to succeed, however the length of detention has a bearing on the level of compensation awarded.

The outcome

In August 2017, the Defendant made an offer of £750.00. This was accepted on behalf of D in full and final settlement of the claim. Civil action against the police is conducted with the sole purpose in obtaining damages for mistreatment and an admission of liability.

If you need help contact HNK today…

Our expert solicitors have specialist knowledge in dealing with actions against the police and will be able to assess the best way to progress your case.

If you have been the victim of misconduct or mistreatment by the police contact our actions against the police department today on 0151 203 1104 or email us at enquiries@hnksolicitors.com.

 

 

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