How To Complain and Sue Police BC

Help is Available

There are organizations that exist to assist people to sue the police and other state agents. Pivot Legal Society is one of those in Vancouver. They have some good overview and educational material and even offer help for pursuing actions.

If a police officer does his or her job in a way that hurts people, without a legal reason for acting that way, that behaviour is called “police misconduct.” There are many different types of police misconduct. They include:
• Wrongful Arrest – arrest for no legal reason;
• False Imprisonment – being stopped by police for no legal reason;
• Unlawful Searches – being searched by police for no legal reason;
• Seizure of Property – when police take your legal possessions that
were not used in a crime and do not return them
• a police officer took your property or damaged or destroyed it with out a legal reason; or
• a police officer used more force against you than was needed.
The police must have, without any legal reason:
• threatened you with physical harm;
• done something to you physically;
• used their authority to make you do something you did not want to do, like be searched;
• used their authority to stop you from doing something you wanted to do, like stop talking to them and leave; or
• taken or damaged your possessions.

Legal Help

Pivot’s mandate is to use the law to achieve widespread social change. Our lawyers work with low-income communities to develop strategies to address systemic problems affecting large numbers of people. We focus on bringing forward cases that will make a lasting difference in the lives of people living in poverty. Unfortunately, legal aid has been gutted in BC. For most legal issues, the service providers below will offer summary advice only, or no free assistance at all. There is very little legal help available, and free legal representation is extremely rare.

Make a police complaint

If you want to make a complaint about a police officer in British Columbia contact the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner by visiting or by phone: (250) 356-7458 or Toll Free: 1-877-999-8707

If you need information about your rights when dealing with a private security guard or want to make a complaint against a private security guard check out for more information.

You can also read our How to Sue the Police manual.

Access Justice merged with Pro Bono BC. For legal help, you can call Access Pro Bono at 604-878-7400 or toll-free at 1-877-762-6664

BC Civil Liberties Association