Home > Government & Legislation > The Police and Your Civil Rights

The Police and Your Civil Rights

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 17 Aug 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Civil Rights Police Legal Suspect

Awareness is one of the best deterrents when it comes to the police and avoiding the abuse of your civil rights. Making it known to the police that you are aware of your rights should make them more cautious when it comes to your rights.

The Police and your Rights

The police do have the right to exercise certain powers when it comes to dealing with suspects but these powers must be exercised responsibly. On the whole the police will act responsibly but there have been many cases of the police abusing the rights of suspects. The police are not above the law and there can be legal consequences if citizen’s rights are abused. The police can be sued, disciplined or even prosecuted if they infringe or abuse the rights of members of the public.

Citizen’s Rights

When confronted with the police many people will unknowingly waive a number of their civil rights. This is usually due to the fact that a great number of people are simply not aware of their basic civil rights. It may also be the case that when confronted with the police many people will simply do as the police ask. For some people the police are often imposing and even intimidating figures of power. The police represent the government but the government also acts for its citizens, and there is legal protection in place when it comes to citizen’s rights.

Know your Rights

It will be beneficial to be aware of your rights when it comes to dealing with the police, regardless of the situation. The police are less likely to break any of your civil rights if you make them aware that you do actually know what your rights are. For instance you can refuse to answer any police questions until you have taken legal advice. A number of people will simply waive this right as soon as they are questioned. If a member of the public has not been cautioned by the police then they are under no obligation to answer any police questions.

Co-operating with the Police

It will always be the best policy to co-operate with the police when they initially question you. If they ask for personal details such as your name and address then these should be given. If the police have stopped you with the intention of proceeding with a search then you do have the right to know the reason for the search. The police cannot search a member of the public without reasonable suspicion. If the police cannot give a valid reason then they should not continue with any search. Reasonable suspicion is not necessary if the suspect is in a designated stop and search area.

Codes of Practice

The powers and rights of the police are laid out in various codes of practice. The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) and the codes of practice contain all of the rights and powers of the police. The Pace act covers the rights of the police and the suspect when it comes to issues such as stop and search, and arresting, interviewing and detaining suspects. Any breach of these codes or the suspect’s rights can mean legal consequences for the police.

Enforcing your Rights

If your feel your civil rights have been infringed or abused by the police in any way there are a number of options open to you. Complaints against the police can be made to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). You can also make a complaint directly through your local police station. If your grievance is serious enough you can sue the police but this option should not be considered without taking expert legal advice.

Human and civil rights are in place to guarantee protection from abuse and any breach or infringement of these rights is a very serious matter. The police are not above the law and they can face the same legal consequences as any other member of the public if they do abuse the civil rights of any citizen. Read further for more information about what happens if you are detained by the police.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
My friend got a visit off a company with a civil warrant. Can the police get involved on this kind of warrant? She refused the company entry so they called the police the police asked hers to open the door so the company could gain entrance again she refused the police officer then started threatening us if we didn't open the door they would open the door with the big red key (battering ram) they did this is this legal? Also they twisted something she said and said she was threatening to take her own life so used that as the final reason for entering the house with the battering ram. Once they gained access she was threaded with arrest for breach of the peace of she did not move out of the way to give the company access is this all legal she recorded most that was going on because she was in gear for her own safety
Whatever - 17-Aug-17 @ 2:34 PM
My 15 year old son was taken to the police station and asked to give a statement about his girlfriend's statement can the police interview him without my agreement
Kristy - 10-Aug-17 @ 10:46 PM
Ls - Your Question:
My son received a court summons ,it said he was searched at a music eventand police found a small bag of cocaine and 4 pink tablets and was escouted of the premises. My son did attend this musical event ,but was not searched or questioned by the police,and did see police escort an acquaintance of the premises.Is it possible for this acquaintance to have given my sons details.

Our Response:
It sounds as though this is the case. Seek professional legal advice.
CivilRightsMovement - 8-Aug-17 @ 2:41 PM
My son received a court summons ,it said he was searched at a music eventand police found a small bag of cocaine and 4 pink tablets and was escouted of the premises. My son did attend this musical event ,but was not searched or questioned by the police,and did see police escort an acquaintance of the premises.Is it possible for this acquaintance to have given my sons details.
Ls - 7-Aug-17 @ 11:41 AM
My son was out with friends and had a lot to drink, while he was in the toilets being ill a person know to one of his friends verbally religiously racially abused another man. Yesreday the police contacted my son by phone and asked him to come in for an interview and told him that if he didn't come in voluntarily he could be arrested. He says he doesn't know anything about it as he wasn't there at the time and has agreed to go in as he wasn't involved. The fact that they have threatened him with arrest if he doesn't go in voluntarily surely means that they are planning to do so when he gets there and he's convinced he's safe to go on his own for a "chat"
Worriedmum - 30-Jun-17 @ 5:35 PM
MrsM - Your Question:
My husband is a director of a company which a customers is in a dispute with. This is a civil matter, however the police were involved by the customer. What are my husbands rights with regards to the police and being a civil matter can they arrest anybody?

Our Response:
It depends what the crime is? If it's a civil matter the police will not get involved.
CivilRightsMovement - 28-Jun-17 @ 2:37 PM
My husband is a director of a company which a customers is in a dispute with. This is a civil matter, however the police were involved by the customer. What are my husbands rights with regards to the police and being a civil matter can they arrest anybody?
MrsM - 27-Jun-17 @ 4:40 PM
Christina- Your Question:
I have recently had an excluded occupier try and gain entry to my property, she was on camera, my body guards where there, however her parents showed their badge and threatened to arrest my security team. I have video evidence of all of this as I was on holiday, however, the police came and took my cctv. The excluded occupier changed the locks with a lock smith after trying to climb in through a window. Because my formers friend parents are Polk e officers I believe be police who where called on the day where biased. I have of course made complaints etc but how can my evidence be used? Even though my security team had a key to gain entry the police told me (the hardrive has not been logged so they don't know where it is) but also the footage could be used against me or my security team!? Is this correct?! Any help on this matter I would really appreciate :)

Our Response:
There is too much detail here for us to be able to comment effectively. You would be bette to seek advice from a solicitor.
CivilRightsMovement - 6-Jun-17 @ 2:04 PM
I have recently had an excluded occupier try and gain entry to my property, she was on camera, my body guards where there, however her parents showed their badge and threatened to arrest my security team. I have video evidence of all of this as I was on holiday, however, the police came and took my cctv. The excluded occupier changed the locks with a lock smith after trying to climb in through a window. Because my formers friend parents are Polk e officers I believe be police who where called on the day where biased. I have of course made complaints etc but how can my evidence be used? Even though my security team had a key to gain entry the police told me (the hardrive has not been logged so they don't know where it is) but also the footage could be used against me or my security team!? Is this correct?! Any help on this matter I would really appreciate :)
Christina - 4-Jun-17 @ 8:34 AM
The police knocked at my door yesterday saying they see me driving the car the day before on the phone ( they were on foot) and told me to put the phone down and I refused and stuck my middle finger up and drove off they took the number plate down and got my address ( which is about 150 yards from where it took place) it wasn't me as I'm not insured in the car I have a work van and the car is registered to my wife who was away they have given me a £90 fine for the middle finger and a court summons for the phone situation what do I do as they wouldn't listen to me at the door
Hardyr - 29-May-17 @ 11:08 AM
I need help asap Please excuse the length of the story but I have to write it all for you to get a understanding . Many years ( I am 40 now ) When I paretnts split up my mother ( bad mum ) took up with a new fella( a police man ) He was split from his wife and had 4 kids . He moved in with my mum in a small flat where me , my mum and her boyfriend at the time . I was 7 at the time . Later his kids moved in and I soon one of his kids who was older than me started to sexual abuse me , this went in for many years .i couldn't speak to my mum about it or anyone else , my dad wasn't around . This went on till I was 14 , finally he moved out the house and I it stopped thankfully . When I was 16 it finally came out . Now this is where it gets had to explain ........ To put you in the picture I was a very immature 16 year old and very naive to stuff . My sister in law at the time I told her she told my big brother and he told my mum 1992 There was this huge massive arguement about everything then I remember ( although I wasn't there or police been called ) Two men turned up at the door I fully dressed and not in uniform. My mum stayed in the kitchen and o was in the living room giving statement to the so called police on duty my step father now , he sat in on the interview ( it was his son that did the abuse ) Later it expired that he was olso abusing his own younger brother , Later in that evening my real big brother went to his house and gave him a healthy kicking , my brother went down to the police to hand himself in as he didn't want the abuser to go and grass him up . When he was at the station he saw the police man that interviewed me ,he explained what he done and the policeman just said , it's ok don't worry about it and sent him away . Many years had pasted , I had a lot to deal with and I was mentally affected with it all , that much I was in medication for the rest of my life , I was always trying to take my own life , I went in to drugs , I ended up in a bad relationship with it ended up all about sex and sex group , it went on and on . Throughtout all this time my relationship with my mum and step father was always up and down , she was this now policeman wife the retired pilicemans wife , she didn't smoke , didn't drink gamble , she went to church , things like that . She was full with aires and graces .. I came out that bad relationship and ended up in a good one , I have been with my partner for 14 years nowbut 3 years ago I had a break down and I ended up sectioned in a mental hospital , I went missing when I was overdosed and I was mentally unstable that's why I ended up sectioned . I never got help with the abuse , I just went on tables for most of my life for depresssions and things like that . When I was in hospital stuff came out about the abuse and it was time to deal with it I was 37 then . I contacted police hq to get a copy of the report as a lot of the stuff I forgot about
Grant - 17-May-17 @ 9:04 PM
Pj - Your Question:
Can cops use civilians to keep in or eye on the contact with the house or people who. Live there. What can I do to sue them or get hassment charges on them

Our Response:
This is not a common practice as far as we know. If you feel you are being harassed by the police, seek legal advice.
CivilRightsMovement - 5-May-17 @ 1:50 PM
Can cops use civilians to keep inor eye on the contact with the house or people who. Live there. What can I do to sue them or get hassment charges on them
Pj - 5-May-17 @ 8:37 AM
The police in Scotland are the worst.Been unlawfully detained/stopped and searched over 30 times, sometimes under sections of the law that do not exist.There is no recourse for victims of racist barbarity by Police Scotland.
Leon - 1-May-17 @ 2:07 AM
Somebody is entering my house. I suspect the police. my forst and second wives both had affarid with police officers, one admits it, and say the other did too, the other denies it, but she called the police on me when we were married, but nohitng happened to me. After that i had a live in girlfreidn for a while, an eastern european. She told me she was approacehed by the police, wo told her i was some kind of master criminal and wife basher and general baddie. she told me right away, i told her about my first and second wives, and she told me things that that happen in the eastern block an ex socirt countries. y new wife has been approached by people trying to mke fraindss tt e suspet are officers. Our phones and computers are continualy hacked. when we get pple to fix them, a mysery viitor comes to the house. we have padlocked our internal doors and and changed the fornt dor locl. who ever visits leavees the front door open, and the paslocks on the ground. they never steal aything. I has some lodgers, and the wife of the lodger starting aking personal quesiton sot my wife, and it worried her. i eventually threw them out, but had to call the piolice to help. the black and white police came and were helpful. when they were pcking their truck, i notieced two peple helping them. the man a tall blond, was once spotted by me at distance appearing to come out of my path, and an old flat mate also told me of a blond tall man. i was told a man odf thi descroption used th etoilet when they were moving. today, my wiofes phone could not ocntat mine. she was urgently calling to say she has come home, and the fornt door was wide open, and the pdlocks were off the bedroom and offic edoors. we had just clened the apple mac out yesterday of all th ebugs and virus we could find. What do I do? i cant afford clandesrtine CCTV and the like. for year they seem to have tried to unde rmine both my marrriages and love reltionships as well as my employment. if I didnt have these contacts wierd problems, that i dont know baout until years later, ( i didint know about my wifes affair with her policeman until she admitted it and it h gone on for over year, she said i was danger it was bizarre, she lives in america now, and told me all this by phne after she left me. the girlfd friend i mentioend above, said the same - this goes on, and I am not imagining it, although i k now ut sounds crazy. Id dont know what to do
Bob - 22-Apr-17 @ 7:40 PM
My sister smokes a joint or 2 for pain relief she has a rare form of arthritis when she call to my house she will smoke this in my kitchen I don't smoke it myself but I don't mind her smoking in my house my annoying next door neighbour is now complaining about the smell of it even tho my sister doesn't do it all the time and now my neighbour is saying that she will ring the police in just need to no were I stand and can the police do anything do I have to let them in or anything
Nikki - 14-Apr-17 @ 1:01 AM
An assistant investigator working for the U.K. Police sent an email to my place of work stating I was a "person of interest" and implicated me in a serious crime, this was implicated by 4 different inclusions within the email. I am not I have never been arrested. This was a knowingly malicious act part of an ongoing vendetta against my partner by the police. This has caused vicious rumours that could endanger my life and certainly will cause major problems for me. Can I sue the person for libel? Thanks
Bosie - 13-Apr-17 @ 10:46 PM
Police came to my house with a search warrant and arrested my 19 year old son . They said that they have tell me to leave my house for (10 hours ) In fact . On the warrant it pacifically says they are searching for certain clothing and shoes on it . So would they not allow to be present in my home whilst they searched it . I am disabled with my spine and struggle to walk because of the pain , even so they said they need to search my home without me being present , I was in so much pain thatday . Was what they did breaking their code of practice ? What is my rights ? And can I take the police to court for it if it is illegal what they did ?
Mercedees888 - 12-Apr-17 @ 4:15 PM
Dale - Your Question:
After any fight my husband refuses to give me car keys. He always threatens you not gonna get a car and hides the keys. We have only one car per family and I can't get to work. He works from home so he doesn't need a car and I do. Is there any rights for me as a women. Can police help or where I can grt help. Thanks

Our Response:
Yes this is equivalent to abuse. You can contact the police on 101 about this or try speaking to someone at the Citizens' Advice Bureau or Victim Support
CivilRightsMovement - 11-Apr-17 @ 2:42 PM
After any fight my husband refuses to give me car keys. He always threatens you not gonna get a car and hides the keys. We have only one car per family and i can't get to work. He works from home so he doesn't need a car and i do. Is there any rights for me as a women. Can police help or where i can grt help. Thanks
Dale - 10-Apr-17 @ 7:31 AM
Smith - Your Question:
I have fell out with my neighbors opposite me because of my van parked outside there house. It is not blocking his drive and is parked in between his house and his next door neighbor. Do the police have any rights telling me to move the van or them moving it for me. I have tools in there and I feel I need to keep it there to keep watch over it.

Our Response:
As long as you are not contravening any parking restrictions and there are no local regulations relating to commercial vehicles in residential areas, there's not much the police can do.
CivilRightsMovement - 7-Apr-17 @ 12:47 PM
I have fell out with my neighbors opposite me because of my van parked outside there house. It is not blocking his drive and is parked in between his house and his next door neighbor. Do the police have any rights telling me to move the van or them moving it for me. I have tools in there and I feel I need to keep it there to keep watch over it.
Smith - 1-Apr-17 @ 5:33 PM
On the 27th two officers came to my home and arrested my boyfriend for revoke Bond my boyfriend had my car keys and Bluetooth headset on him I watched one of the officers take both off of him and stuck car keys in his pocket and Bluetooth around his neck then the officer came inside and looked around the house and left when I went to leave to try to see what I could do to get my boyfriend out I could not find my car keys nor my Bluetooth headset I called the officer and he said that he put them in my house with all his other belongings that was with him on the kitchen counter I have tore my house apart trying to find them now the officer says he isn't sure what he did with them and have yet to find my keys and Bluetooth headset it is going to cost me a $250 to get another key for just my ignition switch that is not counting changing the door locks. what can I do or what should I do because of the officer lost or misplaced my Keys? Because I can not afford that.
Beebee - 2-Mar-17 @ 6:47 PM
I was stopped at the airport to have my passport checked randomly. The two officers tried to make small talk. They kept asking me questions about my work. At one point I asked them why that matters and they asked me come into a room. They showed me a leaflet and contined asking more questions. Asking my phone number, calling from their phone to see if I waa giving the right one. Asking who my network provider was. Really bizzare treatment. At the end they told me they stopped me because I was trying to merge with other people whilst passig them. Is it normal to ask details like network provider and then check the number?
tbhas - 2-Mar-17 @ 2:54 PM
Sam - Your Question:
I was charge in possession of my van on the 18th of January after falling asleep on the passenger side I had wine and fell asleep I did not drive under the influence however I woke up cold so I turned on the engine to get warm and then I heard a tap on the window.the police had arrived and I was over the recommend limit so I was taken to the police station.i have never been in trouble with them ever in my life and didn't know I did wrong by turning the engine on.they kept me for 15 hrs and I didn't get a call till 12 hrs after I was there.i wasn't treated very nice and was ignored very often after pressing the buzzer for toilet roll as I have chronic ibs and I wasn't fed properly.after finally getting my phone call to my partner who didn't know where I was then released 3 hrs later for him picking me up and telling me that my van had been broken into.all my work stuff had been stolen from my van.nearly 9000 pounds worth.as a result that was caused by the police that arrested me moving my van from where I parked it and not making sure it was locked.we have CCTV from a friends house where they moved it to and the officer getting out and locking the driver side but not any other doors.from then we have two vehicles on the same CCTV pulling up around 3hrs later taking all my equipment.the theft was reported straight away as I returned from station after my detainment and told them the next day we had CCTV of what happened.it took the police over 13 days before they came even though we had footage.we told them we knew the culprits as they live just four doors away.its a complete and utter injustice and not only am I now not working because my stuff was taken I am having to depend on others looking after me and I have worked self employed for over 20 years.so far I have no response to my complaint from the police.i got my justice by loosing my licence and community service so where is my justice for what they did??

Our Response:
You will most probably need to consult a legal professional if you want to claim compensation for this.
CivilRightsMovement - 23-Feb-17 @ 2:49 PM
I was charge in possession of my van on the 18th of January after falling asleep on the passenger side I had wine and fell asleep I did not drive under the influence however I woke up cold so I turned on the engine to get warm and then I heard a tap on the window.the police had arrived and I was over the recommend limit so I was taken to the police station.i have never been in trouble with them ever in my life and didn't know I did wrong by turning the engine on.they kept me for 15 hrs and I didn't get a call till 12 hrs after I was there.i wasn't treated very nice and was ignored very often after pressing the buzzer for toilet roll as I have chronic ibs and I wasn't fed properly.after finally getting my phone call to my partner who didn't know where I was then released 3 hrs later for him picking me up and telling me that my van had been broken into.all my work stuff had been stolen from my van.nearly 9000 pounds worth.as a result that was caused by the police that arrested me moving my van from where I parked it and not making sure it was locked.we have CCTV from a friends house where they moved it to and the officer getting out and locking the driver side but not any other doors.from then we have two vehicles on the same CCTV pulling up around 3hrs later taking all my equipment.the theft was reported straight away as I returned from station after my detainment and told them the next day we had CCTV of what happened.it took the police over 13 days before they came even though we had footage.we told them we knew the culprits as they live just four doors away.its a complete and utter injustice and not only am I now not working because my stuff was taken I am having to depend on others looking after me and I have worked self employed for over 20 years.so far I have no response to my complaint from the police.i got my justice by loosing my licence and community service so where is my justice for what they did??
Sam - 22-Feb-17 @ 9:31 PM
My step daughter left home recently under bad circumstances cutting off all contact with the family. She works in the local store where my wife and i have shopped for many years. She has now complained to the police that we are going into the shop to purposely upset and harass her(we have not spoken to her for in excess of a month). We have now received 3 phone calls from the police 'advising' us to not shop there any more or run the risk of being arrested and i have been told i may lpse my job. The officer concerned has told is to drive three miles down the road and shop in other stores. The shop in question is less than one minutes walk from my home and the shop management have no issues with us shopping there. Are the poloce allpwed to do this? Any advice?
Tarka - 2-Feb-17 @ 7:07 PM
2plain clothes officers came to my home but I wasn't in. My 16 yr old daughter spoke to them. They asked where I was,who she was in house with,what her fathers name was+ifvi used to live at previous address. They asked for my number+phoned it while they were there. Told her I knew what they wanted. They never identified themselves+left no contact details or a card. Very intimidating to a young girl stood in her dressing gown. Why would plain clothes rather than uniform come out?
srar - 5-Jan-17 @ 7:15 AM
Police keep knocking without a warrant wanting to search my house looking for my son's friend. Have not seen this friend in a few years. My son is in the army now. I tell them this and they say they will keep knocking mob handed. They say they have information that he's coming in and out this address. He's never been to my address! Told them to look at the cctv outside my house to check. I can't sleep or relax. I will not let them just come in to check it's a damn cheek.
Sa - 31-Dec-16 @ 6:22 AM
VexatiousVi - Your Question:
I wish to blow the whistle on fraud and corruption involving two high profile publicly elected officials, my local council, high ranking police personnel, and a law firm. I have much evidence collated and although I have attempted to contact each individual already I have been ignored and/or dismissed as vexatious or harassed and threatened by police officers who do not seem to exist on any official it's I can find. My human and civil rights have been breached as well as my confidentiality. I believe my online data may also have been accessed. I have requested assistance from various organisations who have all promised to help me, only to withdraw their offer inexplicably within a day or so. I am frightened, and I have become isolated - something which has been aided by the aforementioned officials - and I fear further retribution. I have been denied assistance that I am legally entitled to, defrauded out of legal aid funding, and denied the right to complain without prejudice or discrimination. I do not know where to go for help, who to trust, or who I can confide in without judgement or retribution. Any advice would be welcome and gratefully received. Thank you.

Our Response:
If you can't afford legal help you could try Citizen's Advice. You could also make representations directly to:
Local Government Ombudsman - about the council
Independent Police Complaints Commission - about the police
Solicitors Regulation Authority - about the solicitor
CivilRightsMovement - 6-Dec-16 @ 10:24 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • anton carpena
    Re: Challenging the Police
    I was subjected to psychological torture when detained in police custody for 57 hours with a psychologist present I requested custody…
    17 August 2017
  • Whatever
    Re: The Police and Your Civil Rights
    My friend got a visit off a company with a civil warrant. Can the police get involved on this kind of warrant? She refused…
    17 August 2017
  • CivilRightsMovement
    Re: Staging a Legal Peaceful Protest
    Nik - Your Question:I wish to stand outside the premises of a dry cleaning business with a placard saying this business…
    17 August 2017
  • CivilRightsMovement
    Re: Consumer Rights and Harassment
    D - Your Question:I recently called my breakdown company as I couldn't start my car, I remember a email saying the company has…
    17 August 2017
  • Ffeds
    Re: Challenging the Police
    The police have been informed by the ICO that they must provide me with certain documents I've requested because i'm legally entitled to…
    16 August 2017
  • Nik
    Re: Staging a Legal Peaceful Protest
    I wish to stand outside the premises of a dry cleaning business with a placard saying this business ruined £800 worth of…
    16 August 2017
  • Nanthy
    Re: Dealing With Discrimination in Bars and Restaurants
    I was in a bar in Heywood Greater Manchester area and l was witnessing a barman being discriminated…
    16 August 2017
  • CivilRightsMovement
    Re: Sexual Harassment and Your Rights
    Ms J - Your Question:I was subjected to sexual harassment at work where I was treated unfavourably and subsequently had my…
    16 August 2017
  • CivilRightsMovement
    Re: Challenging the Police
    Ss - Your Question:Hi I reported a crime 2months ago of threats to kill and racial words the police still haven't action anything what can…
    15 August 2017
  • Ms J
    Re: Sexual Harassment and Your Rights
    I was subjected to sexual harassment at work where I was treated unfavourably and subsequently had my contract terminated. I…
    14 August 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the CivilRightsMovement website. Please read our Disclaimer.