Skip to main content

Helping You Claim What's Rightfully Yours

⚠ Claims Now Open ⚠ : Mis-Sold Car Finance | Diesel Emission Claims | Police Complaints

Google Reviews

Unlawful Detention Claims

Have you been unlawfully detained? Have you suffered as a result of being wrongfully arrested? Find out if our panel of experts can assist you with a police complaint claim.

For many, getting arrested is a scary, distressing, and traumatic experience. It can change the course of your life. It can damage you emotionally and financially, especially if you were wrongfully arrested and unlawfully detained. Unfortunately, the police unlawfully detain members of the public every year. If you or a loved one has suffered, our expert panel of Unlawful Detention Solicitors can let you know if you have a potential claim for compensation. 

It becomes even more challenging when you do not fully understand what happened and the reasons for being detained. With a lack of proper procedure, you may not understand the reasoning, and you may have no idea how to get out of your situation. 

There are many questions that you may start to ask when being unlawfully detained. Why were you arrested when you didn’t seemingly break the law? Why did the police detain you when you did not commit an illegal act? Was your arrest lawful? While you may not have the answers, our expert panel of Unlawful Detention lawyers are able to tell you if you are eligible to claim compensation and receive an official apology from the police force. What is Unlawful Detention?

In the UK,  a police officer is supposed to follow specific conditions when making an arrest. If these conditions aren’t met and they still carry on with the arrest, they are unlawfully detaining you.

An unlawful detention takes place outside of the legal boundaries. It takes away an individual’s right to liberty because the police or any local authority arrested and detained them without a legal reason.  

Unlawful detention and false imprisonment may sound similar, but they are not:

  • When you are detained, you are confined in a space or area like a jail cell for a specific period. You cannot leave or go anywhere. Detention can be legal or illegal.  You can be held in detention for a maximum of 24 hours. 
  • When you are falsely imprisoned, the imprisonment can only be figurative, which means you do not have to be placed in jail. Rather, your freedom of movement from a specific place is restricted. A common example of this is when somebody locks you up inside a room without your permission. A police officer can hold you in a specific space for an hour or a few seconds and it will still constitute an imprisonment.

For an arrest and detention to be lawful, the following conditions must be met:

  • There should be reasonable suspicion that you have committed or are about to commit a criminal act.
  • There should be a justifiable belief that making an arrest is vital. 

If any of the two above conditions is not met, the police officer has performed an unlawful detention when they arrested you.

Other reasons for a detainment to be deemed unlawful include the officer detaining you longer than the allowed limit and not following the right arrest procedure. 


Who can claim compensation for unlawful detention?

Anybody who was wrongfully arrested and then detained can claim unlawful detention compensation. If your arrest was deemed wrongful, then the detention that follows (or followed) is automatically categorised as unlawful. In some cases, the arrest is lawful but the detention is unlawful because of the length of time an individual was detained.

You can file an unlawful detention civil claim against the police and other authorities, such as other law enforcement bodies and the Home Office. 

It is also important to know in which situations the police are not legally allowed to detain you:

  • You suffer from severe disabilities
  • You are over 24 weeks pregnant
  • You are a minor (unaccompanied)
  • You are a human trafficking victim
  • You are in constant need of medical care

If you believe you are eligible to file a civil action compensation claim against the police, talk to an experienced panel of solicitors. 


What is the proper arrest procedure?

For an arrest to be proper and lawful, the police have to strictly follow the correct procedure:

  • The arresting authority must identify themselves and declare that they are the police
  • The police officer must let you know that you are going to be arrested
  • The police officer must clearly specify the crime for which you are being arrested
  • The police officer must explain to you why it is necessary for you to be arrested
  • The police officer must inform you that are not free to and cannot leave

The police officer must explain to you in the most understandable way possible their reasonable suspicion, which should justify the arrest. They should also ensure that you understand the necessity of  arrest - why they need to arrest you. If they cannot or do not explain to you this vital information, the arrest will be wrongful and your detention will be unlawful.


How long can police detain someone for? 

As mentioned earlier, the maximum detention period for the majority of cases is 24 hours. Extensions are applied in certain situations, such as when the crime committed was a serious one. In such situations, the extension is from 36 to 96 hours. Detention can last as long as 14 days if the suspect is arrested in relation to the Terrorism Act.

If you have already been detained for 24 hours and have not yet been released but the police did not apply a period extension, that is another case of unlawful detention. 

It is the police officer’s responsibility to inform you how long you will be detained.


How Can help?

If you are a victim of unlawful detention, your first step is to file a complaint with the police force where the arresting officer belongs. Your request should be done in writing and you must present evidence. 

You can also file a complaint with the IOPC or Independent Office for Police Conduct.

If you are unsure of the process, or are unhappy with the response you receive, you can bring a Actions Against The Police claim forward. With the help of our expert panel of Unlawful Detention solicitors, you can lodge a claim for compensation due to the suffering caused by the negligence.

If you would like to check your eligibility for unlawful detention compensation, fill in your details on our easy-to-use form.

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

Start your claim today by completing the quick enquiry form below.

Start Your Police Complaints Claim - 1/3
Please select all that apply to your complaint.

Read up-to-date news and opinions related to Police Complaints and Actions Against The Police. - We Are Here to Help You

Our mission is to provide comprehensive claim guides for multiple claims, and connect you with expert legal firms.

Our Most Popular Claim Guides

Important Information:

Fairweather Group Ltd t/a do not give legal advice. You do not need to use a claims management company to make a claim. You have the right to use the relevant Ombudsman to seek redress for free. More information on your particular Ombudsman can be found on our Terms & Conditions. You can also seek legal advice elsewhere.

The No Win No Fee Success Fee is based on which expert panel member we refer you to and is payable to them. Our panel currently consists of a number of law firms, which can also be found on our Terms & Conditions. The No Win, No Fee varies, but is generally between 25%- 50%+VAT.

There may be a termination fee if you cancel your claim with a panel member after the cooling-off period. We are paid a referral fee by our panel members for a successful introduction. Fairweather Group Ltd will not charge you for our service.

Your Privacy

This website uses cookies. By using this website you consent to our use of these cookies. For more information visit our Privacy Policy