In any case, where you have suffered at the hands of the police, there are a number of ways you can seek to hold them to account. One of the most used and important ways of doing so is by making a police complaint.
You can complain about police officers or anyone working for the police, and about a range of issues. This can include any failure in the performance of their duties, including the following:
- Wrongful arrest
- Unlawful detention/false imprisonment
- Malicious Prosecution
- Abuses of power/misfeasance
- Trespass to a home
- Seizing or interfering with personal property
- Misuse of personal or private information
Police complaints need to be made no more than a year after the issue you are complaining about arises. Only in exceptional circumstances will this deadline be extended.
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Police complaints are different to claims for compensation but it is normally possible to pursue both. A successful claim will result in compensation for any loss or damage you have experienced that has been caused by the police. A complaint investigation however will focus on the conduct of individual police officers – potentially leading to disciplinary or criminal proceedings.
The majority of police complaints will at first be investigated by the police force against which the complaint is made. The outcome of an investigation may then usually be appealed if you are unhappy with it. In more serious cases the appeal will be dealt with by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
In the most serious cases, the IOPC may decide to carry out an investigation themselves, independent of the police.
It will sometimes be necessary to bring a legal challenge by judicial review following the outcome of a complaint investigation.
Our Actions against Police and State team is hugely experienced in dealing with all of the aspects of police complaints set out above.