Wrongful arrest / False imprisonment

Being detained by the police when they aren’t allowed to by law is called false imprisonment, you are entitled to lodge a claim against the police if you are victim of this. Detention by the police has several definitions as follows;

The police arrest you

You are stopped in a public street by the police who indicate that are not allowed to leave and keep you there for several minutes

You go to a police station voluntarily but when you want to leave the police don’t allow you to

If you are detained or arrested by the police they have to prove they are entitled to do this by law. When it comes to legally justifiable arrest the law states that there are two different types of offence;

Arrestable offences, defined as the most serious kind, and include such crimes as burglary, stealing a car, assault, murder, and other crimes with carry a prison sentence

Non-arrestable offences which includes most motoring offences and other minor crimes that carry a fine rather than a jail sentence. 

The police are perfectly within their rights to arrest you if they believe you are;

In the act of committing an offence classed as arrestable 

About to commit an offence classed as arrestable 

Have committed an offence classed as arrestable 

You can only be arrested for an offence classed as  non-arrestable if the police have good reasons to believe that you have committed one of these offences and one or more of the following conditions apply;

The police don’t know what your name is, you refuse to give them it, and they can’t find out what it is easily

The believe that you have told them a false name 

You don’t have a private address that a summons can be sent to 

The have a good reasons to believe that you have told them a false address

It is up to court in these cases to make the decision as to whether the police officer/s had good reasons to believe something, and they will look at;

Did the officer really believe that

Due to the information they had at that time was it acceptable for them to believe this

Other instances when the police are allowed to arrest you is;

If there is a warrant for your arrest out on you issued by a court the police are allowed to arrest you. However, if it then turns out that they have arrested the wrong person/s they can be sued for wrongful imprisonment. You cannot hold the police responsible for arresting you if it is your name on the warrant, this is a mistake by the court which issued that particular warrant, and in this case you could make a claim against the court. 

By law, the police have to tell you why they are arresting you at the time of the arrest. If they can’t do this immediately, maybe because you are acting violently in protest at being arrested, they must do it as soon as they possibly can otherwise it makes the arrest illegal. 

There are time when you cannot be detained legally after the initial arrest, and if you are not allowed to leave this then become wrongful imprisonment. Some examples of this are if;

The reason for arresting you no longer exists

You haven’t been charged even if there is evidence against you

The police haven’t followed those rules which are laid down in the directive known as the Police and Criminal Evidence Act. These stipulate how often and when they should check to see whether you can continue to be legally detained or not. If the police are illegally detaining you, family and friends can call for you release using something called a ‘Habeas Corpus’. This is an order a court can grant in some certain circumstances in order to release someone from custody. If this is granted and you wish to sue the police seek legal advice as following the implementation of Habeus Corpus the claims procedure changes.