Wrongful arrest compensation claims

Making a wrongful arrest compensation claim

In this article we look at what is involved when making a wrongful arrest compensation claim.

Being arrested by the police can be a frightening experience. In order for the police to arrest you, they must have reasonable grounds to believe that you have committed a crime, are about to commit a crime, or are wanted on warrant. Upon arrest, the police must inform you that you are being arrested and what you are being arrested for, along with the reasons and necessity for your arrest.

If these principles are not complied with, then your arrest may be unlawful. Your arrest may also be unlawful if discriminatory factors have played a role in the decision to arrest you or you have been arrested due to mistaken identity. This can often arise as a result of an error from a witness or by the police.

If you have been the victim of wrongful arrest, then any time spent in custody may be regarded as ‘false imprisonment’. Additionally, any force used during a wrongful arrest may be classed as ‘unlawful force’ and you may be able to make a compensation claim against the police for these failings.

To give you an example of a wrongful arrest claim, in 2023 a man was arrested at his home address for failing to attend court. He protested that he did not know what this was in reference to and had not received a court summons. He was nevertheless taken to custody and appeared at court the following day. It transpired that the arrest warrant had been issued for a male with the same name but who lived in a different town. The victim was awarded £5,900 in compensation for wrongfully arrest.

In another case, the police arrested a number of Just Stop Oil protestors in London. A female sat close by waiting for the Kings coronation ceremony was also arrested. She was unfortunately detained for 13 hours before police realised their mistake in that she was not one of the protestors.

Another example involved a bailiff visiting a woman’s home address and subsequently calling the police claiming two young men had stolen a parcel out of his van.  The police attended and then wrongly assisted the bailiff in removing items from the woman’s house and unlawfully arrested her. Nottinghamshire Police Force admitted that the officers had used unlawful force against the woman. She was diagnosed with PTSD as a result of what happened. Nottinghamshire police accepted that the officers had unlawfully entered her property, used unlawful force and unlawfully arrested her. The victim was awarded £40,000 in compensation.

In cases involving wrongful arrest, the burden of proof lies with the police to prove that their actions were lawful.

When making a wrongful arrest compensation claim we will examine all the evidence and consider whether or not the police officer should have believed you had committed an offence (or were about to commit an offence) and whether or not the arrest was necessary.

If you believe you have been wrongfully arrested by the police contact our free legal helpline on 0333 888 0419 or email us at [email protected]

Wrongful arrest compensation claims