Mr Matthew McConville, the Head of our specialised Actions Against the Police Department at Irvings Law has successfully represented three clients in a civil claim against Essex Police. The said clients wish to remain unnamed for the purposes of this case report so will be referred to as ‘Mr D, L and R’.
An informant notified a member of Essex Police whom was on patrol in the area that a vehicle had pulled up outside an arcade and three black males had exited the said vehicle. It was alleged by this said informant that one of these said males then took a handgun from the boot but no shots were fired. Shortly after seeing this, the informant also told the said Police Officer that the three males had returned to the vehicle shortly after and then left the area. The informant alleged that upon returning to the car, one of the males placed the said handgun in his front hooded top pocket.
Upon receiving this information, the said Police Officer relayed the same to the Essex Police Control Room. Subsequently, a vehicle that Mr D, L and R were occupants within was then hard stopped by armed Police Officers from the Essex Police. When stopped, Mr D, L and R were requested to exit the vehicle and as they did so, the attending armed Police Officers were pointing their guns at them. Mr D, L and R were then handcuffed and detained at the roadside whilst they and their vehicle that they were in was searched. In total, Mr D, L and R were at the roadside for about 90 minutes and during which were subsequently unhandcuffed.
It was not disputed by Mr D, L and R that the action taken by Essex Police Officers in stopping the vehicle and then searching same and each of them was unlawful in any way given the information that they had been provided by the original informant. However, as a result of the above-mentioned said searches, no weapons were found in the vehicle nor upon Mr D, L and R. Despite this, they were still arrested on suspicion of Possession of Firearms Offences and then taken to Grays Police Station where their detention was then authorised and they were strip searched before having their photograph and DNA/fingerprint samples taken. Without being interviewed and many hours later, Mr D, L and R were released with no further action despite interview being the reason provided by the involved Police Officers for their arrest and detention at the Police Station.
Upon receipt of instructions to act, assessments were made of Mr D, L and R’s potential claim and without hesitation, Mr McConville offered no win no fee terms to them all. Once retainers were signed, a Letter of Claim was sent by Mr McConville on behalf of Mr D, L and R to Essex Police alleging False Imprisonment and Assault/Battery.
Specifically, Mr McConville alleged that as the searches conducted by the attending Police Officers provided negative results, there was no longer any reasonable suspicion attached to Mr D, L and R of the commission of the offence originally suspected. Further to this, there was never any consideration given by the attending Police Officers that Mr D, L and R may voluntarily attend an interview and in any event, an interview was not necessary as one was never ever fulfilled
Surprisingly, despite the above, Essex Police denied liability in full and made no offers to settle so as such, Counsel was instructed to settle Particulars of Claim for the issue of proceedings. When Mr D, L and R notified Essex Police about serving the same, without prejudice correspondence was instigated by them and settlement was later achieved by Mr D, L and R accepting £4,000.00 each plus their legal costs without the need to issue and serve proceedings.