Our lawyers specialise in bringing actions against the police, under which there are two main actions that can be taken.
A police complaint can cover any number of issues from general behaviour and misconduct by officers to assault and false imprisonment. On the whole, a complaint would seek to obtain an apology and/or explanation from the police. Usually we would take your full instructions and draft the letter of complaint on your behalf. This will then be submitted to the police who will investigate the issues raised. This can often take several months to complete and we will actively chase this on your behalf. Once the investigation is complete, a full written report is usually provided, which will confirm or deny any alleged wrongdoing and detail what action the police intend to take. This could be from a simple proposed resolution such as management advice, through to taking disciplinary action against an officer. We will provide you with full advice on the police response, including any grounds for appeal. A complaint would not result in compensation, but often an admission of wrongdoing at the complaint stage can assist with any future civil claim against the police. We would therefore often advise to pursue a complaint in the first instance.
A civil action is predominately concerned with obtaining compensation for the police wrongdoing. That can include damages for any injuries caused through to loss of earnings and other financial losses. It would not necessarily result in any disciplinary proceedings being taken against the police. Civil proceedings would involve us taking your full instructions and obtaining any supporting evidence. A letter of claim would be sent in the first instance detailing the nature of the claim, the reasons why fault is alleged and the losses and damages sought. The police have 21 days to acknowledge this letter and three months to reply in full. If liability is admitted by the police, the parties will then need to agree the damages/finances to be awarded. If liability is not accepted, steps are then taken to pursue court proceedings.
For more information about the issues in this article, or about any potential complaint against the Police, please contact our Actions against the Police specialists, Amy French or Caroline Snodgrass.