A UK Professor in Criminal Law highlighted a realistic position to me, that "it is notoriously difficult to salvage a reputation after an erroneous arrest, and there are few, if any, opportunities for redress." A position which was supported by a former Conservative government minister, describing to me much of the battle I would endure if I wanted to challenge the Police's actions. He said: "You never get any redress with the Police and if you do, it will be insignificant. It is likely to be a massive feat of endurance".
Often, we hear a 'Claimant' saying (when they sue someone) that "'it's not about the money". I never thought I'd consider suing someone as an option., but without going public and having a court make a judgement, I am not sure how you get a civilised acknowledgement about how much hurt and pain has been inflicted on me. My character is somewhat gentile. loyal, honourable, trusting, polite, courteous, generous and generally accepting of other humans failings.
I can easily be described as 'old school' in my approach to life, judging people as I would like to be judged. If I 'grind axes', it is with Professionals who show incompetence. The idiom of 'not suffering fools' is much within me. All I ever expect from a wrongdoer, is that they acknowledge their error, mistake or lack of judgement.
I have never thought of myself as a money (grabbing) person. I have had times when I've earned a high salary, there have also been times when I've 'managed' on a small income. I have got through adversity and become inventive to assure income without stooping to unethical practices or becoming criminalised. I was once 'damaged' by the health authority nurse in a hospital. I resisted the pursuing of a lawyer to claim compensation as I saw the action as a 'mistake'. I did have two lawyers question my reasons as they saw it as a 'done case'. I felt all it does is takes money from patient care. Maybe I was being too generous!? The impact of that event was minor. It only turned this 'needle-phobic' more needle-phobic!
The Police action is very different and their response has been to 'dig their heels in'. This smacks of hiding the truth, shrouding it and using the vagueness of rules as the pretext to justifying their actions.
Through the whole process of complaint about Police actions I have had four 'apologies', but these have had no relationship to the arrest.
- North Yorkshire Police - regarding an 'inadvertently' DESTROYING a mobile phone, apologised for their action. Compensating me with the value of the phone
- North Yorkshire Police - concerning the actions of their officers during detainment in breach of PACE regulations on detainment, forwarded an apology through the investigation report.
- Devon and Cornwall Constabulary - Senior Officer - about hearing I had to write to their 'Police and Crime Commissioner' to draw attention to lack of investigation and the timely manner in which it was conducted.
- Devon and Cornwall Constabulary - Professional Standards Department - on the completion of an investigation apologised for the lack of action from their Investigating Officers in failing to communicate with me (in entirety), for 84 days, in breach of IPCC guidelines.
No Officer has ever admitted they 'got it wrong!' (or words to this effect). Maybe because they think an admission, would automatically lead to litigation, a compensation claim. Showing ignorance to the Compensation Act 2006, Section 2 in which it clearly states in the guidance for judges, ‘An apology, offer of treatment or another redress, shall not of itself amount to an admission of negligence or breach of statutory duty’.
My logic says the Police 'got it wrong', because the result of their actions was not to 'get it right', in any format. Does that not mean the same thing? They have left me in bewilderment, leaving me to question: "Why don't the Police just 'man-up' and apologise?"
Did they follow procedures? I'll never really know unless they give me access to all data held by them about me. The investigating officer was retired a couple of months after my release from investigation (how 'convenient' was that?). If they had followed procedures and are allowed to arrest without compelling evidence, where there is 'no evidence', then their actions are only justified in terms of wrongful 'guessometry'?
Are they directly responsible for the loss of my employment? Without their 'wrongful' actions I would be (most likely) in employment today. They arrested me publically at my place of work. They placed me on conditional bail, prohibiting me from doing my job. Any good character references I had, evaporated on the day of the arrest. When an arrest takes place on someone specifically highlighting the reason for the arrest in front of their boss, it is devastating!
There is much discussion about the 'duties of care' from professionals. It is a term which ranks in vagueries to that of what is 'reasonable' action. The Police are given specific guidelines under the 'Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005', to look at alternatives; to interview without arrest and certainly not to 'Arrest, because you can.' With other professionals, it normally takes a court to decide, 'what the extent of the duty of care should be' or 'what was reasonable in an action'. How extensive should a 'duty of care' be and what is its relationship to Police arrest, detainment and release. There are no specific answers here or anywhere else.
The Police are my defamers of character resulting from their actions. Defamation of character which has a profound impact on someone's life is bad enough for any individual. The extreme level is that which leads to unemployability and destitution. It is surely an action which is abusive, degrading, inhumane and incompassionate.
The Police are protected by conventions and rules governing 'Complaints' and can refuse to investigate a complaint, if not submitted within a year of the event. An investigation into some serious crimes can take many months, if not years, making it nearly impossible with ongoing investigations to make complaints. By the time the individual has started to move their life forward from the mind freezing trauma, and managed to work their way through procedures, they can exceed this time framing. Effectively being excluded from the complaints process (by default).
Of course, the individual 'could take the Police to court'. The Police know this is highly unlikely due to the sheer cost on the individual in emotional and financial terms, as it will be a civil case of tort. The Police are comforted that the individual complainent will not get 'legal aid' and will not have (in all probability) the money to employ solicitors, let alone barristers. Whereas massive budgets are available (in the case of a force being challenged) and for individual officers, the 'Federation of Police Officers' provides extensive support to defend any action. It becomes 'David versus Goliath', in legal terms, where the outcome is favoured in the direction of bullying Goliath to win!