Police officers must have reasonable grounds to arrest and detain members of the public – but sometimes wrongful arrest and wrongful detention (false imprisonment) can occur as a result of mistaken identity, incorrect police intelligence, information or tip-offs, or simply because the correct procedures for detaining a suspect were not followed.
Wrongful arrest and wrongful identity can be extremely distressing – especially in cases where a suspect has no previous dealings with the police and is innocent of any allegations.
Arresting and detaining an individual without reasonable grounds constitutes a breach of human rights.
Duncan Lewis Action Against Public Authorities Solicitors regularly advise those who are victims of wrongful arrest or wrongful detention, regardless of the circumstances of arrest, on how to make a police complaint.
Our Action Against Public Authorities Solicitors can offer advice whether a suspect is wrongly held at a police station, in a police vehicle or even in their own home or other location.
If an arrest by the police or detention by the police cannot be lawfully justified, Duncan Lewis can advise on how to make a claim for compensation – and are frequently able to offer a no win no fee arrangement for claims for wrongful arrest or wrongful detention.
Claims for unlawful detention can be made across a wide range of circumstances, from unlawful detention relating to stop and search – to unlawful detention involving immigration matters.
Unlawful detention by the police, prison service, Border Control officers and immigration officers can result in immense distress to those affected. In some cases, unlawfully detained asylum seekers might only have been attempting to escape torture and detention in their own countries.
In July 2015, a landmark ruling in the High Court gave asylum seekers who had been detained under the then ‘fast-track’ system the right to sue the British government for unlawful detention, as well as giving some claimants the right to have their asylum cases re-examined.
A person who has been unlawfully detained by the police while going about their normal, daily business can have a devastating impact upon a person, even if they have had dealings with the police previously.
In order to detain a person lawfully, police must have a reason for doing so. This might either be for public protection if an individual is suspected of having committed an offence, or is about to commit one. This could also be the case where an individual is detained for their own protection and safety such as where those with a mental health condition have suffered a crisis and pose the risk of harm to themselves or others.
Where a police officer, or officers, fails to follow procedures, this might also lead to a claim for unlawful detention. For example this might be where a detainee is not advised of their rights, is detained without lawful authority, is detained as a result of inaccurate police intelligence or as a result of mistaken identity.
Detaining a child, or juvenile (a person under the age of 18) in an adult cell – even if they have been charged with an offence – might also constitute unlawful detention. A juvenile should usually be bailed and returned to their home once the police have dealt with them, or placed in local authority care or secure accommodation.
Duncan Lewis Action Against Public Authorities solicitors can advise on any circumstances in which unlawful detention has occurred and this includes advising on making a compensation claim for unlawful detention.
Claims for unlawful detention have to be made within six years of the incident – however, Duncan Lewis advises clients to get in touch as soon as possible, while any evidence is still available and memories of the incident remain fresh.
Duncan Lewis also has well-respected departments covering immigration law, mental health and criminal law, so our solicitors are well placed to advise on claims involving unlawful detention, whatever the circumstances.
Duncan Lewis may be able to secure legal aid, or to offer a no win no fee arrangement for advising on police complaints and claims – with competitively priced rates for privately funding a claim or After the Event (ATE) insurance, if either legal aid is unavailable or where a no win no fee basis is not possible.
For expert legal advice on Actions Against the Police and Wrongful Arrest or Unlawful Detention, call Duncan Lewis Action Against Public Authorities Solicitors in confidence on 0333 772 0409.