Mon-Thu 09:00-18:00 | Fri 09:00-17:00

Police Complaints

Have you ever been the victim of police misconduct?

Police Complaints

The law describes a police complaint as any expression of dissatisfaction with a police force that is expressed by or on behalf of a member of the public. If you have been the victim of police misconduct or have been mistreated by the police whilst in police custody, you are entitled to make a police complaint. You do not need to accept poor police conduct if your civil liberties or human rights have been infringed, HNK Solicitors can pursue your police complaint for you.

If you have been mistreated by the police, making a complaint is an important step in taking action, but the process is often complicated and highly defended, and many complaints are not investigated properly without legal representation.

HNK Solicitors are one of the UK’s leading firms for actions against the police, and we have a team of experienced and dedicated solicitors who can provide advice and support with your police complaint. We want to ensure you get the outcome you desire, whether this a formal apology, disciplinary action against the officer(s) involved, or compensation for your mistreatment.

Step 1

Get in touch using our contact forms or any details provided throughout the site.

Step 2

We arrange a free consultation with you to discuss the case

Step 3

If accepted we will action your case on a no win no fee basis.

A police complaint is different from a police claim, as the complaint deals with the standards of professional behaviour and whether the office has breached these. A police claim deals solely with compensation following police misconduct. Unlike a police complaint, a civil claim is pursued through the courts and if successful, can result in damages and legal costs being paid by the Defendant police force. HNK Solicitors can help with both police complaints and police claims. After making a police complaint, you may also be entitled to claim for compensation. In some cases, an upheld police complaint can help compensation claims against the police where a civil infringement is confirmed in the written report.

We understand that this process can be challenging and emotionally demanding, but our expert solicitors will guide you through the process. We represent clients throughout England and Wales in a wide variety of police complaint cases. Some are instances of minor conduct issues; however, others are serious failings and gross misconduct issues that have resulted in officers being sent to prison and dismissed.

illegal police stops

What can I make a complaint to the police about?

There are many reasons why you can make a complaint against the police. You can complain if you are not happy with the service the police have given you, or you can complain about the treatment you have received from police officers or police staff, or even about the way the service is run. We can help if you have been subject to:

  • Assault or battery by police officers
  • Police dog bites
  • Wrongful arrest/false imprisonment
  • Unlawful stop and search
  • Breach of human rights (e.g. unlawful strip search/trespass to your home)
  • Malicious prosecution
  • Negligence
  • Misfeasance in public office (abuse of power by the police)
  • Assault or battery by police officers
  • Police dog bites
  • Wrongful arrest/false imprisonment
  • Unlawful stop and search
  • Breach of human rights (e.g. unlawful strip search/trespass to your home)
  • Malicious prosecution
  • Negligence
  • Misfeasance in public office (abuse of power by the police)

Download Our Guide

Get in touch

Fill out the below form and one of our advisors will get in touch to arrange a consultation about your claim.

Call 0151 203 1104

enquiries@hnksolicitors.com Mon – Thu 09:00-18:00
Fri – 09:00-17:00

How to make a police complaint

You can make a police complaint directly to the police force you are complaining about, or via the IOPC. Complaints should be made within 12 months of the incident, otherwise, the police can decline to deal with your complaint unless you give them a good reason. The complaint should be a written statement with your full name, address, and contact information as well as details of the allegation, and complaints you are making, and who you are complaining about. If possible, you should also include witness details. The more information you provide, the better.


The police complaint process can be quite complex, so it is beneficial to instruct a specialist solicitor on police conduct. Consult HNK before you make your police complaint, and we can review it for you. The purpose of the complaint is to have a particular officer or force investigated for the complaint that was made.


The force then allocates your complaints to an officer or to the professional standards department to investigate it. It will then be dealt with in one of two ways. Local resolution is used in less serious complaints, and Local Investigation is used for more serious police complaints where a complaint needs to be investigated further. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the investigation, you are given 28 days to appeal the decision.


A civil action against the police is conducted with the purpose of obtaining compensation for mistreatment and/or an admission of liability. Actions against the police are often highly defended, so it is highly advised you have an experienced legal team, such as ourselves, to help fight your case for you, if you want a successful outcome. To find out if your complaint makes you eligible for compensation, contact HNK Solicitors.

How can HNK Solicitors help with my police complaint?

HNK Solicitors have an expert team of actions against the police solicitors who are recognised as leaders in the field of human rights law and actions against the police. We have many years’ experience handling police complaints, and we have helped people all over England and Wales with all kinds of police complaints against almost every police force – including The Metropolitan Police, Merseyside Police, Greater Manchester Police, and West Midlands Police.


We can help clients make complaints to the police and also pursue civil claims against the police. We are proud to offer a no-win, no-fee service in many civil claims’ cases, depending on the facts of your case and an initial assessment. We also routinely act under private funding and legal expenses policies. Contact us today to find out more, and we can even offer a free consultation where you can discuss the details of your case with one of our expert actions against the police solicitors.

Free Consultation

Contact us today to arrange a free no-obligation consultation to discuss the details of your police complaint.


Dependent on the details of your case, we can offer a no-win, no-fee service, so it won’t cost you a penny upfront to begin the process of making your civil liberties claim.

Get the outcome you desire

Our expert actions against the police solicitors will handle the police complaint on your behalf, fighting to get the outcome you desire.

What is the IOPC?

The Independent Office for Police Complaints (IOPC) replaced the former Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) in 2018 and is an independent body set up to deal with police complaints in England and Wales. Anyone can make a complaint about the police to the IOPC, but they only tend to investigate the most serious of cases. Other complaints are referred to the Professional Standards Department of the relevant police force.

What is the difference between a police complaint and a police claim?

A police complaint is different from a police claim, as the complaint deals with the standards of professional behaviour and whether the officer has breached the same. If the officer is found to be in breach, then sanctions may be imposed against the officer, such as dismissal, suspension, restricted duties, or a warning. The complaints process can also refer the officer to the Crown Prosecution Service.

Unfortunately, in our experience, officers are rarely sanctioned, and the complaints procedure is not always fit for purpose.

A police claim, on the other hand, deals solely with compensation following police misconduct. Unlike a complaint, a civil claim is pursed through the Court system and, if successful, can result in damages and legal costs being paid by the Defendant police force.

I live outside of the North-West; can you still help me?

We try our best to help anyone who has encountered a problem with the Police. We regularly accept instructions from clients nationwide. Despite our office being based in Liverpool, we can represent clients all over England and Wales and handle police complaints against a variety of forces throughout the country. We can deal with matters by way of telephone, letter, and email. We also have a facility so that our clients can sign documentation electronically to not only speed the process of progressing your case but helping us do our bit for the environment too!

Can I take the police to court myself?

In this country, as long as you do not have a civil restraint order, you can issue Court proceedings, however, actions against the police are highly contentious. In our view, the litigation process can be complex for the layperson, so we urge anyone who is wanting to take the police to court to seek legal advice before doing so.

Further, it would be imperative to understand the litigation process and the law to ensure you have the best chance of success.

When should I make a police complaint?

Initial complaints need to be made to the relevant police force within one year of the incident. A claim for personal injury damages needs to be made within three years of the incident. Other aspects of your claim such as matters arising under the Human Rights Act, must be made within one year. For discrimination complaints, a complaint must be made within six months of the incident. In other areas such as malicious prosecution, false imprisonment, and misfeasance in public office, a claim must be made within six years.

Won’t the Police just delete the video footage related to my police complaint?

If you have suffered an injustice or misconduct by the Police, it is important to act quickly so all relevant footage can be retained. If you instruct us, our specialist team will ensure a request is made for all footage and ensure the police force do everything reasonable to help secure the same.

Can I make a police complaint on behalf of someone else?

In order to make a police complaint, you must be eligible to be a complainant. This is defined as someone who has been directly affected by an incident or who has directly witnessed an incident. If you want to raise a complaint on behalf of someone else, you must have their written consent. Therefore, if you were not directly affected or were not present when the incident occurred, you cannot use the police complaints system to make a complaint. For example, you can’t make a complaint about something you have seen on social media or the internet involving people you don’t know or at an event you didn’t attend. This does not apply if you are the parent or legal guardian of a child aged 16 or under and wish to complain on their behalf.

Can’t find what you’re looking for?

Let us know what you’re looking for and we will get back to you as soon as we can.


Call us on - 0151 203 1104 | Email us at - enquiries@hnksolicitors.com


  • Thank you for your prompt help in this matter. All your telephonists were polite and well informed and dealt with my queries promptly.

    Julie Mayfield
  • Can you please pass on my appreciation to all the members of staff at Higgs – Newton – Kenyon who were involved in my case but especially to Michelle Jenkins who has been an absolute star. Many thanks.

    Christopher Peter Wood
Latest News

Our Case studies

Policeman and police motorcycle behind cordon tape at an accident or crime scene

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,...
Image of a person's legs lying on the floor next to a car. Car accident concept image.

HNK recover £99,700 for claimant injured during an attempted robbery on his vehicle

In 2018, HNK made a successful claim to The Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) on behalf of a claimant for damages...
Photograph of two British transport police officers stood inside a train station.

Kent Police officer jailed for six months for inappropriate relationship with suspect

A former Kent Police officer has been jailed for six months after initiating an inappropriate relationship with a suspect he...

How do I claim?

For more information on how to claim please click this button

Claim Now
Call Us Claim Now