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Police Misconduct

Have you been a victim of police misconduct? Find out what misconduct is defined as, and your options if you have been subjected to it.

Police officers and other law enforcers generally carry out their day-to-day responsibilities lawfully. However, every so often, police misconduct does occur and the effects on the public can be lasting. Some police officers abuse their powers and instead of protecting the people, they infringe on the public’s right to safety and security.

Police misconduct laws in the UK have been revised and improved several times over the years in a bid to stem the rising number of unlawful police practices. Unfortunately, the police were not always held liable for misconduct, particularly when they were investigating a crime. Over recent years, this has been changed as people complained and campaigned about the supposed blanket immunity given to the authorities. Today, the police and any person of authority with police-like powers are held liable for injuries, damages, and harm that arise from direct police negligence.

If a police officer has caused you distress, injuries, and damages because of negligence or an unlawful act, you can file a complaint against them and look to recover compensation. If you decide to do so, it is important to study and understand your situation, what your options are, and exactly what police misconduct is defined as.  


What Is Police Misconduct?

Unlawful or inappropriate actions initiated by a police officer are considered police misconduct. Police misconduct is not only an unlawful act; it can harm the victim or concerned individual physically, emotionally, and mentally. It takes away their freedom and may even affect their finances as well.

There are several types of police misconduct:

  • Wrongful arrest
  • Use of unreasonable or excessive force (i.e. police assault and using taser guns and pepper sprays)
  • False imprisonment
  • Inappropriate behaviour while on duty
  • Human rights breaches
  • Corruption 
  • Abuse of power (including sexual assault and rape)
  • Discrimination
  • Stop and Searches with unreasonable grounds
  • Police negligence
  • Failure to protect victims from abusive partners

Severe cases of police misconduct include criminal activities such as abduction, rape, and even murder.  Cases like this merit the attention and involvement of the IOPC or Independent Office for Police Conduct, which will then investigate the extreme misconduct.

If you become a victim of police misconduct, you should report the incident to the proper authorities right away so they can act on the matter. Reports and investigations help the police force improve their services, including how they evaluate recruits.  It is also your right to exercise your legal rights as a law-abiding citizen who depends on the police force for safety and security.


What Is An Abuse Of Power?

An abuse of power happens when a police officer capitalises on their position for purposes not related to their duties. Common examples are corruption and sexual exploitation. The IOPC partnered with the Association of Chief Police Officers in 2021 and worked on understanding the nature and scope of abuse of power committed by police officers. Their primary material was a report that listed abusive and sexually exploitive acts committed by police officers and staff.

The IOPC released the report and some guidelines for the police force to follow in improving their service:

  • Do everything that they can to prevent abuse of police powers
  • Determine the abuse of power right away
  • Manage the abuse of police power efficiently, justly, and effectively
  • Take note of the lessons learned along the way and apply them


What Are My Options?

If you are a victim of police misconduct, there are a number of options you have to remedy the issue. First of all, you can file a report with the police station that the offending police officer belongs to. You can also email a report of the incident to the IOPC. They have a complaint form that you can use for this purpose.

Several actions may be taken against the police officer, including misconduct hearings which are open to the public. The hearings are one of the disciplinary requirements for police authorities involved in unlawful, unprofessional acts. During these hearings, witnesses are called to help the panel come up with a decision. There are four possible outcomes: written warning, final written warning, rank reduction, and dismissal without notice.

After the misconduct hearings, a police officer can appeal the outcome through the Police Appeals Tribunals.  

The police force may also investigate your complaint, along with the Independent Office for Police Conduct. 


How Can Help?

Aside from filing a complaint, you can also file a police misconduct compensation claim. This will also require investigation and several procedures; you should consider working with legal professionals, such as our panel of solicitors here at  

Our panel can help you secure disciplinary action and prosecution. They will help you claim for compensation for the emotional, physical, and mental damage that the police officer’s misconduct has caused you. Our panel of solicitors understand exactly what you require throughout the process, need as they have been dealing with this sort of claim for years. Their experience in handling police misconduct claims is vast, with a high success rate.

Use our free eligibility checker today to find out if you might have a valid Police Misconduct Compensation claim.

Ready To Get Started? provides a free educational service to the public, and connects potential claimants with pre-vetted legal firms operating on our panel. 

Our panel of legal firms all:

  • Operate on a No-Win, No Fee Basis
  • Require No Upfront Fees
  • Are Regulated by either the FCA or SRA

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