Making A Claim Against The Police

By Max Morris. Last Updated 20th July 2022. In this guide, we will look at when a claim against the police may be justified. Part of the responsibility of the police is to prevent crimes from happening.

claim against the police

Claim against the police guide

However, in some cases, you might experience injuries as the result of action or inaction on the part of the police. In this guide, we will look at what circumstances could provide the basis of a compensation claim.

This is only a short guide, and we can’t provide answers to all of your questions on this page. For free to call our claims team for more free legal advice. You can contact them on 0800 408 7825, or get in touch using our contact form. An advisor will answer your questions for you.

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What Is A Negligence Claim Against The Police?

The police have a duty to detect crime and prevent it from happening. Because of this, they have certain powers. These include the powers to make an arrest, or stop and search a person or a vehicle.

However, the police must use these powers in a way that doesn’t violate the rights of members of the public. If they fail to do this, and you sustain an injury as a result, you may be able to claim compensation.

In this guide, we will look at some examples of how the police could act in a way that causes you to be injured. We will also answer the question, “when could I claim against the police?”.

If you’d like more information about anything discussed in this guide, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. One of our advisors could connect you with a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel.

What Are Examples Of Police Negligence?

Below, we’ve included some examples of how the police could act in a negligent manner in a way that could cause injury:

  • Unnecessary force– The police are allowed to use force as part of their role. However, this force is just limited to that which is necessary, proportionate and reasonable. If the force used falls outside of this scope, and you’re injured as a result, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
  • Negligence in custody- When the police hold someone in custody, there are a certain number of expectations attached to how you will be treated. If these are ignored, you could be injured.
  • Road traffic accidents– All road users have a duty of care to one another, meaning that they have to conduct themselves with the standard of skill and care of the average motorist. While emergency service vehicles are exempt from some of the rules found in the Highway Code- namely, abiding by speed limits, observing keep left/right signs and stopping at red lights- they still need to act in a way that reduces the risk of others on the road from being injured.

Our team of advisors can offer you free legal advice about when a claim against the police might be justified.

Failure To Protect The Public

Members of the police force have a duty of care to the public at large to preserve the Queen’s peace and enforce the law. However, the police do not have a duty of care to protect individuals from harm, unless the harm is caused by the conduct of the police officers.

Hill v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire [1988] is a case that demonstrates this. Here, a 20-year old woman was attacked and passed away as a result of her injuries. It was found that the person convicted of the murder had allegedly murdered a number of other young women in the years before.

The mother of the deceased attempted to pursue compensation from the police force for failing to apprehend the attacker. She claimed that if the person had been arrested, her daughter would not have died.

However, it was ruled that the police do not owe a general duty of care to apprehend an unknown criminal, and they also don’t owe a duty of care to individuals who suffer as a result of the actions of a criminal. Because of this, the claim was dismissed.

You may be wondering if you can claim against the police for the harm you were caused. Get in touch with our team of advisors today for free legal advice and an answer to your question.

Negligence And Misconduct

As we’ve already mentioned, the police have certain powers. However, with these powers comes a set of responsibilities and expectations of how they should be used.

Below, we’ve included some examples of how you could be injured as the result of actions undertaken by the police:

  • Unlawful force. The police are allowed to use certain levels of force when undertaking their duties as outlined in the code of ethics. However, this force must be necessary, proportionate and reasonable in all circumstances. Furthermore, they must use only the minimum amount of force necessary to get the result that they need. If they used unnecessary force, then this could result in you experiencing a broken arm or a head injury in the process of being arrested.
  • In custody. There are several expectations that are on the police in relation to dealing with people in custody. For example, you should be offered sufficient food and drink and be protected from harm and neglect. If this doesn’t happen, then someone in police custody could become dehydrated, miss prescription medication or attempt to hurt themselves because of mental health issues.
  • While on the road. As we have already mentioned, there are some rules in the Highway Code that emergency vehicles are not always beholden to. However, those driving police cars must still conduct themselves with the standard of care and skill of a competent motorist. If they cause an accident because they failed to meet this standard of care, then a pedestrian, cyclist or the occupants of another vehicle could be injured as a result.

In some cases, you may be able to claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) for harm caused to you by a police officer. The CICA is a government-sponsored agency that awards compensation to victims of violent crime in England, Scotland or Wales.

If you have been the victim of an assault by a police officer, then you may be able to claim through this channel. Speak to our team today to find out more.

Making A Complaint Against The Police

There is an independent body in the UK, called the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) that deals with complaints against the police. You can submit a complaint to this organisation, and it will be forwarded to the relevant part of the police service to deal with the complaint. Alternatively, you can make a complaint directly to the relevant part of the police service.

How To Prove A Negligence Claim Against The Police

In order to prove your negligence claim against the police, you can submit evidence. Below are some of the types of evidence that could be effective:

  • Photographs, video or CCTV footage.
  • Witness details so that a statement can be taken
  • Medical records to show that you sought medical attention for your injuries

For more information on the kinds of evidence that can be used to support personal injury claims, speak with our advisors today. They could also give you an answer to the question, “can I claim against the police?”.

Claims Against the Police – What Could I Receive?

You may want more information about what you could receive if you successfully claim for injuries caused by police negligence. Below are figures from the latest version of the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG), published in 2022. They relate to general damages compensation. General damages is compensation you receive for suffering, pain and loss of amenity caused by your injury.

As part of the claims process, an independent medical assessment will likely be performed. A medical professional would determine the extent of your injuries and aspects such as your prognosis and recovery plan. They will then create a medical report which can be used as evidence in your claim.

Legal professionals often use information from the JCG to help calculate an estimate of claimant’s compensation. It’s important to note that these figures should only be used for guidance, as every claim is different. If your claim is successful, your compensation amount may not be the same as what you see below.

Injury Type Severity Potential Damages Additional Info
Eye Total blindness In the region of
Total blindness in both eyes would fall into this category.
Pelvis and hips Severe (i) £78,400 to £130,930 Severe damage to the hips or pelvis falls into this category. For example, a dislocated back or a non-union fracture of the pelvis may fall under this category. After treatment, there would almost certainly be permanent symptoms such as loss of mobility and sexual dysfunction.
Foot Severe £41,970 to £70,030 Severe foot injuries fall into this category. This could be due to multiple fractures to both heels. Although surgery may correct some problems, the foot will remain deformed and mobility will be reduced.
Ankle Severe £31,310 to £50,060 Severe ankle injuries fall into this category. These injuries will necessitate an extensive time period in pins and plaster.
Leg Moderate £27,760 to £39,200 Leg injuries of moderate severity fall into this category. An example of this would be multiple compound or non-union fractures, crush injuries resulting in considerable damage to the soft tissues, but affecting only one leg.
Neck Moderate (i) £24,990 to £38,490 Injuries in this bracket include ones that result in chronic conditions, referred symptoms to other parts of the body and serious soft tissue injuries.
Head Minor £2,210 to £12,770 This category covers only minor head injuries. If there is any brain damage, it will be minimal.
Elbow Moderate or Minor Up to £12,590 Moderate injuries to the elbow fall into this category. Tennis elbow is one example, or injuries such as strains, sprains, or fractures.
Jaw (e)(iii) £6,460 to £8,730 Fractures of the jaw that would be fully recoverable with immobalisation are included in this category.
Back Minor (iv) Up to £2,450 This category would cover minor back injuries that recover within 3 months.

You could also claim against the police for financial losses resulting from the injury. This is referred to as special damages compensation. Potential losses include loss of earnings, travel expenses and medical costs. You would need to prove the extent of the financial losses caused.

This would involve supplying evidence, such as invoices, bank statements and receipts. For more information about your potential compensation, contact one of our advisors today for free.

Talk To A No Win No Fee Claims Expert

When you make a compensation claim, you may be worried about the cost of legal representation. However, a No Win No Fee agreement could benefit you if this is the case.

Under this kind of agreement, you wouldn’t be asked to pay your soliciotr upfront or as they work on your claim. In the event that the claim is unsuccessful, there will be nothing for you to pay them at all.

If you’re awarded compensation, they will deduct a “success fee” from your settlement. This is legally capped, which prevents you from being overcharged.

For more information on No Win No Fee agreements, or for guidance on when a claim against the police might be justified, speak with our team today. You can get in touch via:

More Claims Against Public Bodies

Here are some useful website links.

Complaints And Legal Action Against The Police

Police Complaints: Understanding The System

The Independent Office for Police Conduct

Here are some of our other guides.

How To Claim Compensation For An Accident Or Injury

Get A Personal Injury Lawyer For Your Claim

Accidental Death Compensation Claims

Thank you for reading our guide looking at when a claim against the police could be justified.

Article by AH

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