What is Police Misconduct & Police Brutality?

Unfortunately, police brutality is becoming far more prevalent and a lot of cases actually go unnoticed under the pretence that individuals simply don’t know when their rights have been breached.

The Actions Against the Police Solicitors at DPP Law, while hoping that you are never the product of a police brutality case, we do think it is important that you know your rights surrounding what the police can and can’t do, just in case. Here’s a small guide on some common acts police may perpetrate, including:

  • What is police misconduct and police brutality
  • What are the different types of police misconduct?
    • Unlawful searches
    • Wrongful arrest
    • Assault
  • What to do if you have been a victim of police misconduct or brutality?

What is Police Misconduct and Police Brutality?

Whilst the police force is put in charge of keeping the peace and protecting the public from crime and negative situations, they can also be the perpetrator of that.

Police misconduct is the term used to describe the actions made by the police that go against this aim. It is usually used in circumstances where members of the police do not follow the rules and requirements of a police officer, from administrative tasks to accurately arresting another person.

Police brutality is a more extreme type of misconduct. It is a term that is often used to describe the actions of a police officer in which violence, harm and injury is inflicted upon a member of the public. This includes those they are arresting and handling in the police station.

What are the Different Types of Police Misconduct?

1. Unlawful Searches

Though it’s common knowledge by many, some are left in the dark when it comes to their rights around the police searching their properties.

The law states that generally, the police need a warrant to search your house without prior warning. These warrants are obtained from Magistrates and can be issued under a wide variety of cases including misuse of drugs or possession of firearms. Warrants can also be issued for a range of indictable offences as long as they have a ‘just’ reason to search, such as the possibility that there is supporting evidence within a property.

Though police typically need a warrant, you ought to be aware that there are exceptional circumstances in which they can enter both peacefully, and with force. These reasons are typical:

  • If you are under arrest or already arrested
  • To stop a crime that is underway
  • With your consent to enter the property

What the police can do: search your house with a warrant, or under one of the extenuating circumstances listed above

What the police can’t do: search your house without a warrant or a just cause.

If you think the police have entered your home unlawfully, then it may very well be worth getting in touch with us today so we can weigh up the likelihood of your case turning into a claim.

2. Wrongful Arrest

Wrongful and false arrests and imprisonments are a heated topic of discussion in the modern day, more so in America but also all too prominently in the UK too. Wrongful arrests and even imprisonments can happen when there is a miscalculation of evidence, a false claim or a weak alibi.

UK law says a police officer can only arrest a person if they are wanted on a warrant or if they have “reasonable belief” that they are guilty of a crime. If you believe you have been arrested or imprisoned outside of these circumstances, you may very well have a claim.

It is also worth knowing your rights when you are arrested, as a breach of them can either strengthen a claim or formulate a new one altogether.

  • Be treated humanely
  • Be treated with respect
  • See the written codes governing rights and how you are treated
  • Speak to a custody officer
  • Have someone notified of the arrest (this doesn’t always warrant a phone call, though)
  • Seek legal advice and consult with a solicitor in private.

What the police can do: arrest you with a ‘just’ cause or with a reasonable belief that you are guilty

What the police can’t do: arrest you without a prior reason, deny you of your rights or keep you in custody for over 24 hours (unless in extreme circumstances in which this is extended to 36 hours)

You can read more about your rights when arrested here.

3. Assault by Police

Another common claim is police assault and battery, yet many people are reluctant to report these crimes for fear of not being taken seriously.

The act of assault or battery by a police officer is just as much a crime as it would be with any individual. A person is assaulted as soon as they are touched without consent or are put in a state of fear as a direct result of the actions of an individual.

A police officer could be liable for assault if they go above the level of force deemed ‘just’, this includes punching, kicking, carrying out illegal body searches or deploying an unnecessarily aggressive manner. Police may also be liable for battery if they are physically violent, use an ADP baton, CS gas or a taser without lawful consent.

What the police can do: use a level of force which is deemed ‘necessary’ this is typically just a forceful restraint if you are struggling.

What the police can’t do: use more force than necessary or use a baton, gas or taser unlawfully.

Though the police are allowed to use a certain amount of force, if you are under arrest, for example, it is pretty clear when they have overstepped the mark and if you believe you have fallen victim to this crime it is crucial that you come forward and get in contact with us as you may be entitled to compensation (at the very least).

There are numerous other crimes committed by the police, including:

What to Do if You Have Been a Victim of Police Misconduct or Brutality?

It can be difficult to challenge the very institution that is set up to protect and support you as a member of the public.

Being able to identify if the police have not conducted their work accordingly, or if they used an unfair amount of force upon you is not just complicated, but also incredibly distressing. Getting the help of a legal professional to guide you through this process and highlight where you may have a case will take the stress away from you.

We highly recommend getting in touch with DPP Law as soon as you are able if you suspect you may have been a victim.

Get in Touch With DPP Law Today

The team at DPP Law are dedicated to supporting you in your case against the police, and we have extensive experience in bringing you justice from police forces across the UK. Please get in touch with you if you believe you have been a victim of any of the following:

  • Excessive force or assault
  • Human rights breaches, wrongful arrest or false imprisonment
  • Malicious prosecution
  • Police negligence

So, if you believe you have fallen victim to any of these events, waste no time to get in touch with DPP Law, to make a claim.