Unlawful Arrest or False Imprisonment

Actions against the Police
If you believe that you have been unlawfully arrested and detained or assaulted by the police, you may be able to make a claim for compensation.

Unlawful Arrest
Where a police officer has reasonable grounds for suspecting that an arrestable offence has been committed, they may arrest, without a warrant, anyone they have reasonable grounds to suspect to be guilty of that offence.

The considerations therefore are:
• As a matter of fact, did the police officer suspect that the person arrested was guilty of the offence?

• Was there reasonable cause for that suspicion?

• Did the officer exercise their discretion to make the arrest reasonably?

If an arrest is wrongful and detention follows, you may be able to claim for compensation for wrongful arrest and for false imprisonment. Even if an arrest is lawful, detention can be unlawful if it is too long or if the police have not complied with the detailed and complex provisions of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.

Any Claimant would have to prove that a police officer assaulted him/her. It is almost always the case that there are widely differing views of what happened in the moments leading up to the alleged assault. If more force than is reasonably necessary is used and that can be proved, there is likely to be a finding of assault.

Malicious prosecution
These are difficult cases. The Claimant must prove that the Police/Crown Prosecution Service prosecuted for a criminal offence without reasonable and probable cause, and also prove that those proceedings were started or maintained maliciously. Criminal proceedings must ultimately be determined in the Claimant’s favour as a precondition to the claim, and the Claimant must have suffered some recognised damage to have a viable claim.

Wrongful Conviction
You can make an application for compensation to the Home Secretary, who is prepared, under certain circumstances, to pay compensation to anyone wrongly convicted of a criminal offence.

The most likely outcome of any police claim is an award of compensation. It is rare for an apology to be issued. Compensation falls into three separate categories:
• Basic Damages – an amount of money designed to compensate the Claimant
• Aggravated Damages – damages for injured feelings, this will not be less than £1000.00 if awarded
• Exemplary Damages – these are designed to punish the conduct of a police officer which is arbitrary, oppressive or  unconstitutional. If Exemplary Damages are awarded, they will not be less than £5,500.

Damages for wrongful arrest and false imprisonment are subject to guidelines. It is normally the case that an award of approximately £500 is made for the first hour of imprisonment, increasing to £3,000 for 24 hours. Reductions are made if someone is accustomed to spending time in police custody. Increases in the guideline awards can sometimes be made if someone has never been detained by the police before.

Compensation for assault depends on the type of injuries and how long the injuries will last.

For immediate, confidential and free advice contact our Personal Injury Team who are ready to help you. 0800 015 2568.

Susan Marsh- 01392 209218. Email: susan.marsh@rundlewalker.com
Lisa McArthur- 01392 209211. Email: lisa.mcarthur@rundlewalker.com
Lindsay Fowler- 01392 209203. Email: lindsay.fowler@rundlewalker.com

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