The police exist to protect the public from harm. They are the barrier that protects the general public from the select few who wish to cause harm and distress. However, sometimes the very thing that the police protect us from, makes its way into the force, resulting in someone being hurt or scarred for life.
Perhaps the most recent and high-profile case we have recently had of this was Sarah Everard. At 33 years old, she was abducted, raped and murdered by PC Wayne Couzens, an active serving officer for The Metropolitan Police at the time of her disappearance and murder. Thankfully such cases are rare to the extent that Sarah’s was. But what happens if you are a victim of assault by the police? Today we will look at the different types of assault and how you can claim for them, both through the CICA and directly against the police.
Over the course of 4 years, police England have recorded over 650 allegations of sexual misconduct. The true figure is likely to be much higher, but remains unknown as many survivors fail to come forward out of fear or shame. Out of those officers accused of sexual misconduct, 30% had prior offences. There are two options to look at if wishing to make a claim for sexual assault/rape against the police. The first being via the CICA and the second being directly to the force themselves.
Let’s first discuss a CICA claim route. Regardless, the correct procedure needs to be followed before making the claim. This means that the incident that has occurred needs to be brought to the attention of the local force as soon as possible. They will launch the criminal investigation and begin those proceedings. Separately you should also complain (Although this isn’t a necessity for a CICA claim) but given the nature of the crime the police force should refer the matter to the IOPC. The IOPC (Independent Office of Police Conduct) oversee all complaints made against the police. They carry out their own investigations and share their findings and outcome to determine the fate of those involved. The general process for a complaint would be through the local force first, and then escalated to the IOPC. Once the rape/assault has been reported the survivor can then apply to the CICA. The general process for claiming for a rape/sexual assault case begins. The only difference may be that if the IOPC are involved, the CICA may request their findings and reports as evidence to aid the decision making of the case.
The police force is responsible for the actions of those employed by them. Whether that be officers, community officer or police staff. If at any point during the course of employment an individual’s actions give rise to a civil claim, the claim can be made directly to the police force which employs them. This method of claim can often be worth more financially, as the claim itself is paid out by the force’s insurers, as opposed to a fixed amount from the CICA scheme. However, this method of claim is directly against the force, meaning that an admission tends to not come easily and the claim process could take some time. With this method of claim, an investigation by the IOPC is a necessity. The report and findings of the IOPC would considerably increase the success of the claim, providing the outcome is in favor of the alleged incident. This method of claim is often processed by gathering the individual’s medical records, as evidence for any treatment received for physical or psychological injuries, and writing a letter of claim to the involved force. Once the force has responded, dependent on what they say, the claim goes from there. Another key factor for making a claim direct to the force is that there likely needs to be a conviction against the offender. Having a conviction against the offender means that it would be very hard for the fact that the incident happened, to be denied.
It is best to claim against the force directly if you think that you may have anything that would hinder or have cause for rejection to the CICA. For example, if you have criminal convictions or if the incident happened a considerable amount of time ago (outside the 2-year limit) but has only just been investigated recently.
Let’s quickly take a look at another route of claim. It is possible to claim against the offender directly. However, this route of claim is only feasible if the individual in question has money to pay out to the victim. It would also be very difficult to find a firm that would take on a claim against the offender directly on a no win no fee basis, due to the high risk of failure that the case carries. The best methods dependent on case factors would either be to the CICA or force directly.
There are other forms of claims that can be made against the police. Excessive force claims are quite common. These types of claims are where the police have used excessive physical force to restrain an individual, which has caused injury. Again, with these sorts of claims, depending on the injury suffered, they can be brought to the CICA or force directly. It is best to keep in mind though that if you were injured during an arrest, and have a pending conviction the CICA would likely not consider the case, unless the conviction was thrown out. Convictions tend to not have a severe impact on claims directly to the force, except for judge of character.
If you have been a victim of assault by the police, whether it be physical or sexual, please contact us today. Your call will be handled in a confidential matter and we will assess your case factors and prospects and advise you on the pros and cons of claiming via each route.