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Wrongful Arrest

Have you been a victim of a wrongful arrest? Have you been unlawfully detained and need legal advice? Get in touch with our expert panel of Actions Against Police solicitors today to find out how they can help.

Whether it is a case of inaccurate police intelligence, mistaken identity, or the police not following proper detaining procedures, a wrongful arrest can be stressful and frightening. If the individual is innocent, has no prior criminal record, or is not familiar with unlawful arrest and detention, the experience can be mentally damaging and can have a long-term effect on their life.

Anybody can be unlawfully arrested anywhere - be it in the home, on the streets, the workplace, and even in public places such as the supermarket. If you find yourself in such a situation, you may be able to claim compensation for wrongful arrest. At, we have a panel of expert wrongful arrest solicitors who are well-trained and experienced in anything and everything related to wrongful arrests.

We also have this Wrongful Arrest guide to help you better understand wrongful arrests or false imprisonment. 


What is A Wrongful Arrest?

Under UK laws, a police officer is only legally allowed to arrest an individual if there is reasonable cause or belief of interest or involvement in a criminal offence, or is about to enact a criminal activity. A wrongful arrest is the opposite of such; one that uses unnecessary or unlawful aggression. If an officer makes an arrest without reasonable grounds, it is considered a wrongful arrest.

The following are examples of reasonable grounds:

  • Proof that the concerned individual was present in the area where the criminal activity happened
  • Credible information regarding the concerned individual’s participation in a criminal offence or activity

A police officer is expected to act responsibly and allow the concerned individual to understand what is happening and why they are being detained. 

A wrongful arrest is also known as false arrest or unlawful arrest. 


What is False Imprisonment?

False imprisonment is another term for wrongful arrest. It refers to an arrest without legal justification initiated by a police officer. It also means the restraint of a person’s freedom through confinement or force, without justification. In some cases, the arrest may be lawful at first, but the detention period is too long, or the detention requirements aren’t settled and completed. 

Unlawful or false imprisonment is also common in incidents that are short of arrest, such as when a police officer conducts a stop and search. In these circumstances, the concerned individual is typically detained in a room or area for the purpose of questioning, or on the street for a search. 

The imprisonment does not have to be physical; the police officer only has to say that they are placed under arrest or made to understand that they should stay with the police officer (even if they are not under arrest) because they may suffer several consequences.


What can I sue the police for if I am the victim of a wrongful arrest?

A lawful arrest is when a police officer uses only reasonable force and is fair and safe. It also involves the police officer following legal arrest procedures, which include:

  • Announcing that they are the police 
  • Informing you that you are under arrest
  • Telling you why you are being arrested (your crime)
  • Making you understand why you need to be arrested
  • Informing you that as you are to be detained, you cannot leave
  • Ensuring that there are reasonable grounds and proof of a crime

If the police officer does not follow lawful arrest procedures, you are entitled to file a wrongful arrest case against them, which can get you compensation, as well as an apology.

For your complaint to have weight, you have to provide evidence that the police officer acted unprofessionally, unethically, and unlawfully - that the arrest was made with unreasonable grounds. 

The expert panel of police solicitors at will be able to tell you if you have an eligible wrongful arrest claim.


What are my rights if I am arrested?

If you are arrested, you are allowed to practice your legal rights. 

It is your right to know why you are being detained. The police officer must explain this to you, not immediately but as soon as possible. If the officer does not do this, the arrest will be deemed unlawful.

The allowable detainment period is a maximum of 24 hours, which can be extended to 36 hours depending on the severity of the offence. 

During an arrest, it is your right to:

  • Be humanely treated
  • Be respected
  • Verify the written codes that govern your rights and the manner you should be treated
  • Be allowed to privately consult with a solicitor and ask for legal advice
  • Ask someone to inform family or relatives of your arrest (you won’t be allowed to make the phone call; someone else should)
  • Communicate with the custody officer who is tasked to look after you

On your custody record, the police officer is expected to enter the correct time of your arrest. 


Claiming Compensation For Wrongful Arrest

If you are able to prove you were wrongfully arrested, you can file a false imprisonment claim against the police officer who did the unlawful act to you. If you were falsely detained, you should file for a false imprisonment claim. 

If you were subjected to excessive force or handcuffed when you were arrested, a police assault claim should be considered. 

Claiming compensation for a wrongful arrest is necessary not only because it can help the police force enforce changes in their system and workforce, but also because it will help restore your damaged reputation.


How Can Help You?

Filing a wrongful arrest compensation claim involves several requirements and procedures. Our panel of expert and experienced solicitors at will guide you through the process - from the first to the last step. Get in touch with us so our panel can discuss their plan of action for you. 

Use our free eligibility checker to discover whether you have a potential 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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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.

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