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Complaints Against Police

Complaints Against the Police


Duncan Lewis Action Against Public Authorities solicitors regularly advise on complaints against the police – every year, police forces pay compensation to people who have a justifiable complaint about police officers who have not followed procedures – or who have been responsible for injuries during arrest or in custody.


Complaints against the police in England and Wales must be made to the police force in question – and are overseen by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (formerly known as the IPCC).


It is possible to make a complaint about individual police officers or any member of police staff who has acted negligently.


In serious cases which involve physical assault, sexual assault or death in custody, the matter will be referred to the IOPC (formerly IPCC).


Time Limits for Police Complaints


The time limit for making a police complaint is 12 months and after this date a police force may decide not to accept the complaint without good reason for the delay.


Time limits for other actions against the police include:


Three months


  • Judicial review


Six months


  • Breach of Equality Act 2010


One year


  • Breach of Human Rights Act 1998


Three years


  • Police assault (from date of injury)
  • Negligence (leading to personal injury)


Six years


  • Negligence not causing personal injury
  • Death in custody (unless personal injury also claimed)
  • False imprisonment / Wrongful arrest
  • Malicious prosecution (from date of ‘favourable outcome’, such as acquittal)
  • Misfeasance in public office
  • Trespass to property or goods
  • Unlawful stop and search
  • Wrongful arrest


Because of the time limit in making a police complaint, it is essential to contact Duncan Lewis as soon as possible, so that our specialist police complaints solicitors can assess your case and advise on the best way forward.


Police complaints can be complex – and although police forces pay out large sums in compensation, claims are usually defended robustly.


It is advisable to take expert legal advice about making a complaint, to ensure that your complaint is handled appropriately by the police force you are complaining about and that you are paid any compensation you are entitled to.


Duncan Lewis Action Against Public Authorities solicitors can also advise on appeals to the Independent Office for Police Conduct and judicial review of a police decision or the Independent Office for Police Conduct decision.


Funding a police complaint


Duncan Lewis advises on police complaints and claims against the police in England and Wales. Our specialist solicitors are able to assess whether you might be eligible to have your case funded by legal aid.


We are able to accept cases on a no win no fee basis, depending on the circumstances of the case.


Where it is not possible to secure legal aid for a police complaint, or for us to offer a no win no fee arrangement, Duncan Lewis offers competitively priced fees for private funding of a case – and can also advise on After the Event (ATE) insurance policies.


For expert legal advice on no win no fee police complaints, call Duncan Lewis Action Against Public Authorities solicitors on 0333 772 0409

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