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Home Violent Crimes: Police Assault


Whereas assault on its own is a criminal offence, it is all the more aggravated where the victim is a Police Officer or any other public official acting in the capacity of their position. Police assault charges are therefore considered quite serious by the court. The most common incidents for which allegations of assaulting a police officer can be brought include where the offender is resisting arrest and/or engaging the police in a scuffle. Any act which may be construed as an assault on police in the execution of their duties is a criminal offence under the provisions of the Police Act 1996. Obstructing a police officer from conducting his or her duties is also a criminal offence of police assualt according to Sec 89 (2) of the 1996 Act.

In a significant number of the cases we have come across at London’s most prominent criminal defence law network, it appears more likely for an offender to assault a police officer in a crowd of people. It may be the case that there is an ongoing riot or a demonstration of some sort and the jostling of the crowd brings the offender into contact with the police officer. In such situations, it is also more likely for offenders to counter argue that they have been assaulted by the police and that they were acting in self defence. Our criminal defence experts will most certainly be looking into such allegations to support our clients’ claim of self defence. In more recent times, cases of police officers charged with assaulting members of the public are being taken more seriously and thoroughly investigated. If your defence therefore is “the police assaulted me”, we will like to hear from you and to vehemently argue your case from that angle.

 Police AssaultAssaulting a Police Officer is a Serious Charge 

Another rather common environment in which assault on the police is likely to take place is at places where people have been drinking such as parties, outside clubs or pubs, festivals and other such social functions. The effect of alcohol or any other inebriating substance on an offender may be the only reason they even come into contact with the police. In other words, it is not impossible that the offender’s actions are completely out of character. In such cases, we have found, through our extensive experience of criminal defence practice that issuing a public and remorseful apology to the assaulted police officer may be viewed favourably by the court. This may potentially reduce the sentence from a custodial one to a fine or community service.

The fear of getting arrested may also be another reason why an offender would put up any form of resistance if or when approached by the police; a resistance which may be regarded as an assault on the police. It is very important to establish first and foremost the capacity in which the police officer was acting at the time of the assault and whether or not the offender was aware of the fact that he or she was a police officer. While this knowledge or lack thereof does not necessarily exonerate an individual of culpability where all the other elements of criminal assault can be proven by the prosecution, it nonetheless means the case may not be aggravated on account of the police officer’s public office.

Sentence for assaulting a Police Officer:

The court takes a very dim view of assaults on police officers in the course of their duties. This is obvious in the sentencing guideline on police assault. At the same time however, it must also be said that the court will take into consideration those factors which may have been responsible for the offender’s reaction; being unduly manhandled by the police for instance. A typical case of undue manhandling will be where it can be established that the police officer in question had employed excessive force while attempting to arrest the offender. The court’s decision and subsequent sentence, should the offender be convicted, will reflect this fact. On the other hand however, the seriousness of the offence and by association the sentencing may be aggravated where the offender has a history of assaulting the police or other public authorities. Upon conviction, the offender could face up to a maximum of 6 months in jail for assaulting a police officer and/ or a fine. The offence of obstructing a police officer from the conduct of his or her duties attracts a significantly lower sentence of a month’s imprisonment.

 Assault on the Police Defence

We are criminal defence lawyers and this means we represent clients on all criminal matters. Our areas of expertise are extensive and we have a dedicated team of experts with vast experience. Any one of our solicitors will be happy to hear from you if you are facing or believe you are very likely to face an assault on the police charge. In every case there is a mitigating factor. We will meticulously go through your case, the circumstances surrounding the occurrence of the offence and your personal circumstances in order for us to be able to effectively build a very strong case on your behalf.

At London’s most prominent criminal defence law network, we leave no stone unturned in providing our clients with legal representation. We believe very strongly in lending our clients a deep sound voice our legal representation no matter what allegations they face; everyone is entitled to a rock solid legal assistance. Our defence solicitors are very much dedicated to protecting our clients’ interests and they strive to achieve the best outcome possible for them. So call us today if you find yourself at a loss as to what to do about the criminal charges that have been brought against you. Our solicitors will do what they do best; mount the most formidable defence possible on your behalf.

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