I have a complaint against the Police or other public authority - what can I do?

Many complaints can be dealt with by the use of the Police's own complaints procedure, and indeed this is a pre-requisite to many claims against the Police. Generally this involves setting out the complaint to the Constabulary's head office which should then either investigate internally or refer the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission to investigate. Common complaints to the Police are matters such as damage to property during a search, loss of items of property whilst under Police control, or acting in an unprofessional manner.

At Forbes we deal with a wide variety of different Actions Against Detaining Authorities, including but not limited to the following:

  • False Imprisonment
  • Malicious Prosecution
  • Assault/Trespass
  • Negligence
  • Personal Injury

False Imprisonment occurs when a person is deprived of their liberty without lawful reason or excuse. This often occurs when a person is arrested without reasonable suspicion that an offence has been committed, or where they are detained by somebody other than a Police Officer (e.g. a security guard) when no offence has actually been committed. Sometimes people are imprisoned but detained longer than ordered by the Court due to a miscalculation of release dates or incorrect drafting of the court order itself.

Malicious Prosecution occurs when a person is subjected to a prosecution for a crime out of malice or spite by the prosecuting authority. Such cases are very rare, except where deliberate falsification of evidence can be proved. The prosecution must have terminated in favour of the person claiming malicious prosecution, either by acquittal or the case being thrown out, and it must be proved that the prosecution maliciously pursued the case without grounds for doing so.

Assault and trespass covers any situation where a person has touched a person or property without lawful authority. Many of these cases arise out of a period of abuse but there are other situations when they may occur, such as the unlawful entry on to property resulting in damage.

Negligence arises when there is a breach of a duty of care resulting in loss. Duties of care come about in many situations, usually when somebody's actions could foreseeably result in a loss to another person. The Personal Injury department deals with most types of negligence claim, but there are other situations which come within the AADA remit. Examples include the failure by a court to notify the Police of a change in bail conditions, with the result that a person is arrested for breach of bail conditions which no longer exist or have been changed, or the failure by the Police to update the Police National Computer to reflect accurate information resulting in loss.

Personal Injuries sustained at work, on the road, or on public or private property will be dealt with by the Personal Injury Department. However, injuries can also be sustained during an arrest or whilst in prison. These claims can arise on their own or become part and parcel of another claim, such as false imprisonment.

We operate a Community Legal Services franchise which allows cases to be funded by Legal Aid, subject to satisfaction of the financial eligibility and case merits criteria. In some cases we can offer a Conditional Fee Agreement (No Win No Fee Agreement) in the alternative.

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