We get lots of people asking us to act on their behalf or write an article about their issues with the police or even refer them to a solicitor.

Before any of these can be considered, you must be able to present your case (issues) to us in a way that is understandable and evidential.

We often get an email with a list of things the police have supposedly done.  We do not disbelieve you, but unless you can show us something to support your allegation, there is little or nothing we (or others) can do.   The bring a claim against the police, you need to prove, on the balance of probabilities, that what you alleged is true.  The police will, without question, reject what you claim, and in most cases, the burden of proof is on you to bring the claim. Without this proof, you are, like most victims of the police, pissing into the wind.

If your allegation is a criminal allegation, then the burden of proof is much higher (beyond reasonable doubt).

So, it is important the consider (objectively) what actual evidence you have. If this is little or none, then you may have to face the harsh reality that you may not be able to bring a claim/charge.

A lot of people do have the evidence, but for one reason or another, do not provide it or expect others to trawl through masses of information to find it buried within documents.

As an example, completely made up of similar requests we get, consider the following email we may get

Please can you help me, I have been assaulted by the police.  I am upset about it and have PTSD.  The police unlawfully arrested me and handcuffed me.  They kidnapped me and took me to the police station. They charged me with a crime and didn’t allow me to have a solicitor.  They lied to me in the interview.  etc

I do not suggest any message like this is not true, but what I believe and what you and I can prove is a different matter.  Using the above example, we can separate the issues alleged;

  1. I was assaulted by police
  2. I have PTSD
  3. The police unlawfully arrested me,
  4. The police handcuffed me (assault)
  5. The police kidnapped me, and
  6. the police took me to the police station.
  7. The police charged me.
  8. The police did not allow me to have a solicitor.
  9. The police lied to me.

All of the above may be factual and not one of the allegations would be a surprise.  In fact, I have witnessed first-hand most of the same from the police.  The issue is each has a valid defence by the police under certain circumstances, and trust me, they will defend their actions.

  1. Assault by the police is common, any touch (laying of hands) can be defined as an assault.  Firstly, there is your word against theirs, which applies to most allegations.  Secondly, not every assault if a crime and the police have (as do you) a right to use reasonable force. If you have been assaulted, you need evidence, or witnesses or something to substantiate it, this may be that the police confirm you were arrested and cuffed and that you later prove the arrest was unlawful, the cuffing would be assault, but it the arrest was lawful the cuffing is not likely to be an assault.
  2. People have PTSD and many other conditions.  This does not really make a difference in most situations and is often one of many ailments people put forward as a primary aggravating factor.  Most ailments are not relevant.  Whatever condition you have, the police have a right to arrest you if you have committed a crime and the arrest becomes necessary.  Pointing out ailments is not generally of use early in a complaint/report (it does factor in some cases and certainly does during settlement or at a trial).  Telling the police you have an ailment is useful if they have to factor this in and may serve in evidence if the police activate body cameras and you clearly tell police you have an injury or a condition they need to be aware of.
  3. Telling me or a solicitor you were unlawfully arrested is not really useful as to determine if an arrest was unlawful, other factors need to be reviewed.  Not every arrest is unlawful, even if no charges were brought.  The police only need reasonable suspicion of certain crimes, and PACE guidelines give them the power to arrest.
  4. Handcuffs are used in accordance with PACE.  Police can use them if they reasonably suspect you of a crime and arrest you if then believe it necessary. They can under certing conditions use cuffs while detaining you for other reasons, even if you are not arrested.