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11 Dealing with the Police - updated version available September 16

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1. Introduction

2. If you have a problem with the police

3. If you are stopped and searched

4. Your options for taking action

You can take different types of action. What you can do will depend on:

  • what happened to you; and
  • what you want done about it.


What you want can include:

  • an apology;
  • compensation; and
  • making sure that you, or someone else, isn't treated in the same way in the future.

This leaflet looks in detail at the two types of action you can take, and when you can take them. They are as follows:

  • Suing the police (also called 'Civil proceedings against the police'). If you sue the police, you can get compensation if you win your case. But you can sue the police only for very specific reasons.
  • Making a complaint against an individual police officer. This could get you an apology, and may also mean that the officer involved is disciplined. If he or she has committed a crime, they may even be prosecuted. You can't get compensation by making this type of complaint, but you can make a complaint about almost anything that you felt was unfair (see 'Further help' for more information).

5. Suing the police

6. How to sue the police

7. Making a complaint against a police officer

8. How to make a complaint

9. The result of your complaint

10. Further help

11. About this leaflet







Liberty LogoThis leaflet is published by the Legal Services Commission (LSC). It was written in association with Liberty.

The leaflets are regularly updated but the law may have changed since they were printed so the information in them may be incorrect or out of date.

Leaflet Version: August 2017




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