Complaints and claims against the police – have you been mistreated?

In this guide, we’ll discuss the reasons why a person may wish to take action against the police, including the difference between making a claim and filing a complaint.   Taking action against the police All officers and police organisations are bound to a code of ethics and rules laid out by the law. If you feel that the police have broken this code in any way, you could have a case. Depending on the situation, you may wish to make a claim for monetary compensation (e.g. wrongful arrest, false imprisonment, injuries suffered), or a complaint (resulting in disciplinary action). What can you claim against the police for? There are a number of reasons why you may wish to make a complaint or claim against the police. Perhaps you’ve been a victim of police discrimination or police assault? Both instances would fall under the umbrella of a serious breach of conduct and likely lead to a full investigation. Types of complaint you can make against the police Serious conduct complaints Serious conduct complaints often require a full investigation and can result in disciplinary action – i.e. a police officer being rendered unfit for duty and suspended or dismissed. The Independent Complaints Commission will always deal with serious conduct complaints of this nature. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is an independent government body that investigates serious conduct complaints and actions brought against the police. Our solicitors can advise you on the severity of your case.   Unprofessional conduct - report a police officer who is unfit for duty There are various claims you can make against the police. Some are more serious than others, but it’s important to note that all are equally as important. Making a claim or an action against the police can be a long, lengthy and complex process, which is why it’s important to seek legal advice or representation from a solicitor. Remember, you should make a claim against the police if you wish to seek compensation for damages to personal property. Will the police know who I am if I make a complaint? It is possible to make a claim or complaint against the police anonymously, however, doing so could hinder the success of your case. The IPCC may feel they do not have enough adequate information to investigate a complaint further. That being said there are instances when a person may receive anonymity, such as sexual assault cases. Is there a time limit on actions or complaints against the police? If you’re planning to take action against the police, take note that there are time limits. The time limit depends on the type of claim or complaint. Discrimination actions are valid within six months of the incident happening, whereas assault actions are valid for three years for personal injury, or six years otherwise. For a full breakdown, visit our actions against the police page.   How much is a lawsuit against the police? The cost of making a claim Making a claim against the police can be costly. It is always worth taking the potential legal fees for claiming against the police by seeking advice from one of our solicitors. Fortunately you can make a no win, no fee case against the police with the help of DPP Law. You may even qualify for free legal aid, providing you’re unemployed, have a low income or other high financial commitments. For more information about making a claim against the police, including case studies from people we’ve helped in the past, click here. Alternatively, why not get in touch with an experienced member of our team for helpful legal advice and guidance?

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Police and Court Bail – What you need to know

In this section we’ll discuss police bail, court bail and the conditions of bail. What is bail and how does it work? Following an arrest and being charged with an offence, the Police have to option to remand the person in custody or grant them Police bail prior to their first appearance in court. In circumstances where an individual has been remanded in custody, they can apply to be bailed at their first appearance or at subsequent appearances in court. Bail is often granted to those not deemed as a risk to public safety. For instance, it’s highly unlikely that a person accused of a very serious crime would be granted bail. A bail agreement may be subject to certain terms. i.. the accused may have to report to a police station or bail officer every fortnight. Police bail and court bail – who grants bail? There are two main types of bail – police bail and court bail. What is Police Bail? Police bail is where the Police grant bail either whilst investigations into the offence are still on going or where the individual has been charged but has not yet appeared in court. Police bail allows the police to continue their investigations into the alleged offence and request the individual to return to the Police Station for further questioning. What is Court Bail? Court Bail is where the court officials grant bail to a defendant between scheduled court hearings. This is as an alternative to ‘remand’ which is where the defendant is held in custody between hearings or before a court trial date. What is Remand? When someone is described as remanded in custody, it means that they are kept in custody/prison until a trial or sentencing hearing takes place. Usually the person on remand has not been convicted of a criminal offence and has pleaded ‘not guilty’. Why have I not been granted bail? The courts or police may decide not to grant bail if a person poses a risk to public safety. The courts may also feel that a person is unlikely to return for a court hearing, and as such refuse bail. Failure to answer bail – the consequences If a person fails to answer bail or breaches bail, they will be liable for arrest. The courts may decide to issue an arrest warrant if the bail conditions set by the police are not kept to or breached. If you are in breach of bail, it’s worth speaking to a solicitor. click here to speak to one of our expert solicitors who will be able to advise you with the best course of action. Bail when you’ve been charged with a crime Anyone sentenced to prison has the right to lodge an appeal for bail with the courts. The courts may also decide to grant a person bail part-way through their sentence if they no longer pose a risk to the public. Bail conditions If you’re looking to appeal for bail, you’ll want to speak to an expert solicitor. We have numerous years of experience in criminal law and could help you. Alternatively, if you feel the authorities have handled your case poorly, visit our extensive section on actions against the police, where you’ll find plenty of advice about making a claim.

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The police have seized my laptop – what should I do next?

  There are a number of reasons as to why the authorities may decide to seize your laptop, computer or mobile phone. Having your personal electrical items confiscated by the police can be distressing, especially if you feel that equipment may contain incriminating evidence against you. We’ve penned this guide to give a useful overview of your rights, the process when police seize your computer and the process of retrieving your belongings from the authorities. Can the police seize computers? Can the police seize your computer or any other personal electrical items? The simple answer is yes. Various laws give the authorities the power to seize electrical items and devices as evidence, the main one being the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE). Why would the police seize your computer? Why might the authorities choose to seize a personal possession such as a smartphone or laptop? The police may wish to obtain evidence against you from an electrical device, and while the charges may not be against you, your device may provide answers to the case in question. So, what are the main crimes that would determine your devices being confiscated? Illegal pornography is one of the more common crimes, as well as fraud and drugs offences. What happens when the police seize your computer For the police to obtain electrical items from your home, an officer would need a search warrant to gain access to your property. During a search of your home or workplace, an officer may decide to take electrical devices as evidence to assist in a case. Depending on the seriousness of the crime, you may also be put under arrest. There’s lots of information about what to do if you’re arrested in our guide. As for your possessions, they will most likely be bagged up and categorised as evidence, before being taken for analysis. Will I have to supply the police with a password? If your computer or laptop is password protected, you may be asked to disclose this information to the police. However, the likelihood is that the experts analysing your computer will be able to break through such security measures, this includes encrypted files. How long can the police seize your computer for? How long can the police seize your computer for with or without a charge? There is no set time limit relating to the seizure of any electrical devices, however, under the PACE act, your possessions must be made available as soon as they are no longer needed. If the charges against you are dropped, or if the case is resolved, the police will need to return your items. Under PACE 1984, your property will have to be returned to you when it is no longer needed. How to get your belongings back from the police The police force detaining your property will often notify you with details of where and when to pick up your property. You’ll usually have 28-days to collect your items. If you do not retrieve your items within the allocated time, your laptop or any electrical devices may be destroyed or sold at an auction. If you feel your case has been wrongly dealt with, you may want to consider speaking to a solicitor. You can check out our actions against the police section for more help on this matter. Your rights when arrested – England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland In this section, we’ll answer some of the questions many people have around being arrested, including your rights to a free phone call when arrested. What legal help am I entitled to if the police seize my laptop Remember if you do not have a solicitor, the police will provide a duty solicitor to you free of charge; however, it may be worth having a personal solicitor that you know and trust. If you’ve been previously arrested, require impartial and helpful legal advice or would like to speak to a lawyer, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with a member of the team. For more information on the arrest process and various offences, visit our crime section.

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