We all rely on being treated fairly and with respect by officials and their agents, and on them carrying out their duties without inflicting physical harm on us.
When they fail in this, determined action can bring compensation for the injuries suffered, as is illustrated by a recent case in which a man being deported was injured by employees of a firm contracted by the Home Office.
The man was subject to a deportation order and the task of getting him to the plane at Heathrow was contracted to a security firm. They succeeded in getting him onto the plane, but he then became agitated. Before the plane had taken off, a struggle took place which led to him being handcuffed and removed from the aircraft and placed in a van.
CCTV footage showed that the handcuffs were applied very tightly, seemingly with the intention of causing the man pain as well as keeping him under control. This caused injuries to his wrist, and the rough treatment he received also caused back injuries. The episode led to a deterioration in his mental health.
The court was highly critical of the degree of force used to deal with the man, describing the behaviour of the men escorting him as 'outrageous'. The force used was far in excess of that which is permitted.
The man was awarded damages of £30,000 for his injuries, plus aggravated and exemplary damages of £18,000.