Police brutality claims

The vast majority of police officers accomplish their jobs admirably under a lot of pressure. However, occasionally some may abuse their power – potentially causing harm to innocent people.

If someone wishes to complain about law enforcement, he or she may consult the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). This organisation is responsible for dealing with criticisms and, where appropriate, conduct, supervise or investigate police activities.

A person can make a complaint to the IPCC if he or she has:

  • Been adversely affected by an event
  • Witnessed an incident
  • Suffered inappropriate behaviour

What the law states

Under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 , law enforcement are only allowed to use "reasonable force" when absolutely necessary. Typically, officers should attempt all other peaceful solutions before considering violence.

However, sometimes officers need to be aggressive to deal with dangerous criminals or to prevent a hazardous situation from becoming worse. Usually, to assess whether or not the use of force was legal, The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will ask several questions:

  • Was the use of force justified in the circumstances?
  • Did the officer use violence excessively?
  • Was the nature and degree of force suitable for the situation?
  • Was the offence serious enough to justify violence? and
  • If the person was resisting arrest, was force needed to ensure successful apprehension?

Furthermore, when investigating the use of violence, the CPS will examine whether an officer was given appropriate training and guidance.

Common types of police brutality

Taser guns

There have been a number of cases of members of the public being unfairly shot with tasers. Those affected may be entitled to take legal action.

It is thought that normally, aside from the fleeting pain and long-term trauma caused by a taser, a healthy person would not expect to suffer any permanent damage caused by a taser shot.  Those most at risk may include those with diabetes, those with weak hearts and those with other underlying health conditions.

CS gas poisoning

Police are increasingly using defensive weapons including CS gas in an attempt to disperse violent crowds. However there have been a number of cases, which have involved the generally public becoming seriously injured as a result.

CS gas can result in severe burns and blisters on the victims’ skin and the noxious gases can be severe for asthma suffers and those who struggle to breathe.

Claiming compensation with YouClaim

If you have a complaint against the police force, you should first contact the IPCC and visit the duty officer at your local police station.

However, if you have been injured by a member of the police force, and their actions were not justified, you could be entitled to claim compensation. Our experienced solicitors have years of handling with police brutality claims and can offer you expert advice on pursuing legal action.

To find out if you have a case, please speak to one of our legal advisors on 0800 10 757 95.