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Assault by the Police

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A person is assaulted as soon as they are unlawfully touched without consent, or put in fear of violence. A police officer could be liable for assault if they go above and beyond the level of force required, including punching, kicking or carrying out illegal body searches. If you’ve been assaulted by a police officer, you could be entitled to compensation. Battery takes place when a police officer is physically violent towards you, or uses an ASP baton, CS gas or a taser without lawful consent. However, for a police officer to assault you, they only have to make you believe that they intend to cause you physical harm. An example of battery by the police is: a police officer uses a baton to cause a person harm. An example of assault by the police is: a police officer raises a baton to make a person fear they will be harmed.

What is reasonable force?

In some cases, the police have a right to exert ‘reasonable force’ in self defence. They are also allowed to use reasonable force if they are placing someone under a lawful arrest. What counts as reasonable force depends on the circumstances, and even if the police officer has legal grounds to make physical contact with you, it could amount to battery if the force used is unreasonable. Remember:

  • You are a victim of assault if you have been touched without lawful reason, or put in fear of violence
  • Police, public organisations, prison officers etc. are bound by the general principles of criminal law, like all of us
  • These organisations can only use “such force as is reasonable to prevent a crime”
  • If you have been assaulted, seek medical attention immediately and make sure your injuries are noted, preferably with photographs

How do I make a claim?

If a police officer has unlawfully assaulted you, don’t suffer in silence. You could be entitled to compensation, so we advise you seek legal advice by contacting us today.

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