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Protecting Your Rights

Actions Against The Police

If you or a loved one has suffered due to police misconduct, our expert lawyers could help you get the answers and the compensation you deserve.

Our dedicated team of solicitors have extensive experience bringing claims against almost every major police force in England and Wales. We could help you if you have been the victim of:

We have an excellent track record in this area of law. Some examples of our past actions include:

  • Many high profile challenges to police policy and activities
  • Particular experience in representing protestors, such as animal welfare and environmental campaigners
  • Acting for the families of individuals who have died whilst in detention at a police station or prison – to establish the truth and if appropriate, obtain compensation
  • Bringing claims against the police for assault or excessive force
  • Acting for victims of rape or sexual assault in claims arising out of flawed investigations

If you believe you’ve been unfairly treated by the police, or by other detaining authorities, we have the expertise and experience to help bring your case to justice. Call us today on 0800 028 1943 – or fill out our online form and we'll call you back.

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Actions Against The Police - More Information
    • Who Can Make A Claim?
    • Anyone who believes they have been subjected to police misconduct may be able to bring legal action against the police. You can also bring a claim on someone else’s behalf if they are unable to – for example if they:

      • Are a child
      • Lack mental capacity to instruct solicitors

      You can also bring a claim on behalf of a loved one who has died if an inquest finds that the police or other authority was responsible for their death. For more information on how we can represent you at inquest, please visit our Inquests page.

    • How Long Do I Have To Make A Claim?
    • There are strict time limits in place when bringing a claim, so we always recommend getting in touch with our experts sooner rather than later.

      You have 6 years to make a claim for wrongful arrest or false imprisonment. However, you only have 3 years if you are making a personal injury claim.

      If you are making a complaint against the police, you only have one year.

      There are some exceptions that may apply, for example:

      • If you are claiming on behalf of a child
      • If you are bringing a claim on behalf of someone without the mental capacity to bring their own claim

      If you are thinking about making a claim against the police or another authority, we urge you to get in touch with us as soon as possible so we can advise you on the best action.

    • What’s The Process For Making A Claim?
    • First of all you’ll speak to one of our friendly team on the phone. You can talk to us about your situation and we’ll assess whether or not we can help you.

      If we’re able to take your claim forward, we’ll get started right away. Our expert team will look into your case in detail, compiling evidence to make sure your case is as strong as possible. Where appropriate – for example in the case of personal injury – we’ll obtain expert medical opinion to support your claim and show the impact on your life.

      Bringing a claim against the police may involve first filing a police complaint. If this is the case, we’ll be able to advise you through the process. You can find out more about how these complaints are dealt with on our Police Complaints Procedure page.

      Once we have everything we need, we’ll attempt to settle your claim. Most cases settle out of court and that is always our preferred option, but if this isn’t possible, we will support you through the trial and help you with any court appearance.

    • What Is The IPCC?
    • The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is an independent body set up to deal with complaints against the police. Anyone can make a complaint to the IPCC but they tend to only investigate the most serious claims - usually those involving severe injury or death.

      Complaints not dealt with by the IPCC should be referred to the Professional Standards Department within the relevant police force so that the conduct of the police officer/s involved can be properly investigated. However, this is often not the case, and we often find examples of both the IPCC and the Professional Standards Department not properly applying the police complaints procedure.

      This means although the correct structures are in place for people to file a complaint against the police, this doesn’t guarantee every complaint the attention it deserves.

      For this reason we advise having the experts on your side.

      Read more about our expertise in handling the Police Complaints Procedure.

    • What funding is available?
    • When we first take on your case will discuss funding options with you. Legal aid is available to bring claims against the police, provided you meet the financial eligibility criteria. If you don't qualify for legal aid, we can offer conditional fee agreements (No Win No Fee*), fixed fee, or other funding arrangements depending on your circumstances.

    • Meet the Team
    • We’ve helped clients to claim against almost every major police force in the country. Our specialist lawyers have the experience and expertise to make sure your case gets the attention it deserves.

      We have a proven track record of success in high profile cases and frequently challenge police policy and activities. Fiona McGhie on our team worked with Cerebra to update their guidelines on the arrest and detention of disabled children. We also work closely with the charity INQUEST to push for more transparency around deaths in police custody and other state detention.

      We are listed as a leading firm in the area of Actions Against the Police by the premier legal guides the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners. As well as our own specialist knowledge, as a full-service law firm we can draw on the expertise of colleagues from all areas of law where appropriate to ensure your case is dealt with as comprehensively as possible.

      We promise to keep you informed throughout your case, avoiding legal jargon and explaining everything to you in plain English. However your case progresses, we’ll do everything we can to protect your best interests and take the determined action required to achieve a positive resolution for you and your family.

      Meet the team

I feel like I've taken on the world and beaten it, not just for me but for everyone else.”

Mrs R, Client
Client Quote

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Make A Claim Against The Police?

If you have been the victim of police misconduct, you may be able to make a claim against the police. Our expert lawyers could help you if you have been:

  • Assaulted or harassed by a police officer
  • Detained unnecessarily or without explanation
  • Mistreated in custody
  • Arrested or prosecuted wrongfully

We can also help you bring a claim on behalf of a loved one who has died after contact with the police. Our dedicated team has particular experience bringing claims on behalf of the families of those who have died in custody or shortly after release. For more details please visit our Inquests page.

There are strict time limits in place for making a claim against the police. Some of these include:

  • 6 years for false imprisonment or assault (from the date the detainment started or the assault happened)

However, this is reduced to only:

  • 3 years if claiming for personal injury

If you are making a police complaint, you have only one year, unless you can show good reason why it was not possible to make the complaint within that time frame.

Whatever the circumstances of your case, it’s best to speak to one of the team as soon as possible, so we can discuss your options with you.

Call today on 0800 028 1943 – or fill out our online form and we’ll call you back.

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Can I Make A Complaint To The IPCC?

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is an independent body set up to deal with complaints about police conduct. Making a complaint can help you get an explanation about what happened and ensure the right action is taken against the police officer, or officers, concerned.

Making a complaint can also pave the way for bringing a compensation claim. An investigation can uncover important evidence that then forms the foundation of any legal action.

Our team has extensive experience of the police complaints system. We could help you:

  • Make a complaint to the IPCC
  • Make a complaint alongside a compensation claim
  • Appeal the outcome of a complaint

The IPCC deals with a huge volume of complaints and will usually only investigate the most serious ones, often those involving serious injury or death. Even if your case is considered, the complaints system is notoriously complex and can be very frustrating for those unused to navigating the process.

Moreover, we often find cases of the IPCC not properly applying the police complaints procedure, meaning it can be difficult to make sure your case is investigated if you don’t have legal support.

Our specialist police lawyers have the expertise and experience to make sure you build the strongest case possible. Whether you’d like to make a police complaint, or if you’ve already made a complaint and are thinking about next steps, we can support you through the process.

Contact the team today on 0800 028 1943 or fill out our online form and we'll call you back. Alternatively, visit our page on Police Complaints to find out more.

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Why Choose Irwin Mitchell?

We’ve brought cases against almost every major police force in the country and have the experience and expertise needed to get you the justice you deserve.

Our lawyers are genuinely passionate about pursuing justice and improving practice in the criminal justice system. We are actively involved in many charities working in this area and frequently provide advice on guidelines and procedure. Fiona McGhie worked with the neurological children’s charity Cerebra to update their guide for parents regarding the arrest and detention of disabled children.

We also work closely with the charity INQUEST and have represented many families at inquest after their loved ones have died in police custody, or soon after. These cases that have provided landmark changes in the way vulnerable people are treated by the police and other authorities, such as social services.

Some of these include:

We also successfully secured compensation for a woman whose rape trial collapsed when police lost her evidence

Whatever the circumstances of your case, we’re here to help. We are listed as a leading UK firm in this area of law by the expert legal guides Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500, and our team has the expertise you need to help you make a successful claim.

Call us today on 0800 028 1943 – or use our online enquiry form and we’ll get back to you.

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Awards & Accreditations

We're always proud to be recognised for the work we do for our clients and have been named as a leading firm in the latest legal guides - which provide information and recommendations about lawyers and law firms in the UK.


Private Client Team of the Year - Legal Business Awards 2017
"'One of the best’ and ‘go-to firm’ Irwin Mitchell covers the full range of work, and specialises in complex, unique cases."
"The lawyers are heavyweight individuals in a big firm, but they never compromise on client care. They handle cases with striking compassion and insight."

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