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Reputations are precious. They can take a lifetime to establish, yet can be destroyed with just a few words. Police officers’ reputations matter because a police service cannot function effectively unless it is trusted and respected by the public. The reputation of the police service is a complicated compound of each individual police officer’s reputation.
Defamation occurs when someone says, writes, broadcasts or posts on the internet something which will make people think badly of you or your business, damaging your reputation and feelings.
Our highly regarded defamation team is one of the most successful in the country dedicated to protecting police officers reputations and restoring them when they are damaged.
We are experienced in safeguarding our clients’ rights to privacy and confidentiality, and since the advent of the Human Rights Act 1998, this has been an area of the law which has grown and developed in importance for police officers. The wrongful disclosure of private information about a police officer, whether in the media, within his or her force or to members of the community they serve, can cause significant harm. We are frequently asked to advise and bring claims in this area.
Within the defamation area for Police Federation members, we also regularly advise police officers and Federation officials on press statements, and often assist in trying to keep defamatory stories out of the media. We are well known to all the major media organisations through our dealings with them on behalf of police officers over many years, so they take our involvement in a case seriously.
We appreciate that different clients look for different results. If a defamed police officer takes court action, the only remedies they can sue for are financial compensation and/or an injunction. However, most clients who have been defamed want more than anything else to clear their name. When we settle claims, we do our best to negotiate terms which vindicate our clients, most often by extracting from the defendant an apology for the words complained of. We have also achieved some excellent results for police officers through mediation.
If you think you have a claim for defamation or the misuse of your private information please contact Jeremy Clarke-Williams.
Jeremy heads the Defamation Team based in our London office which specialises in advising Police Federation members on their defamation claims.