Unlawful Searches

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To conduct searches of your property, the police should either obtain your permission to do so or apply for a warrant from the Magistrate’s Court. If they have done neither, their actions will count as an unlawful search. 

If you wish to make any unlawful search claims or complaints regarding unlawful searches and seizures, DPP Law can help you. We will go through all evidence, including video footage, images or audio recordings of the search and any other record of the behaviour of officers, including witness statements, and examine all circumstances of the incident in full to build a strong case for you. 

While there are no clear guideline amounts in terms of the compensation you may receive, but a stop and search that neglects correct procedure could see you awarded £250, while unlawful premises searches and failure to provide copies of warrants could result in a £1,500 payout. 

Circumstances under which you may make a claim include instances where the police have:

  • Conducted any unlawful searches of your property or person
  • Raided the incorrect address
  • Obtained a warrant based on fabricated evidence
  • Provided an insufficient reason to believe your property has any involvement with crime

The circumstances in which police are allowed to enter your property without permission or a warrant include situations in which there is a danger to life or an arrestable offence currently taking place within the premises.

You can also make unlawful search claims if you’ve been the subject of a stop and search that didn’t adhere to the following regulations:

  • Telling the subject why they are being searched and what officers expect to find
  • Not stopping a subject due to their race or background
  • Only asking questions that are relevant to the search
  • Informing the subject of the ID numbers, names, police stations of all present officers
  • Informing the subject of their right to a record of the search, and where to obtain this

In 2010, DPP Law solicitor Iain Gould successfully assisted four young complainants in holding the Metropolitan Police to account for a wrongful stop and search, which earned our clients over £23,000 in compensation, plus costs.

What happens if you don’t consent to a search?

You can only refuse consent to a search if the police officers present do not have a warrant. If they do and you refuse or resist, they are permitted to use reasonable force against you to complete the search.

What is considered an illegal search?

If a police officer does not have a search warrant nor probable cause to believe that you have committed – or are about to commit – a crime or that you are carrying anything related to a crime, the search will have been undertaken illegally.

Can you be searched while detained?

Yes, police officers are permitted to search you while you are detained if they suspect that you may be carrying something connected to the offence for which you are being held. 

Is it legal for a male officer to search a female?

Yes, a male officer can pat down a female member of the public or conduct a search of any outer clothing. However, strip searches can only be undertaken by officers of the same sex as the person being searched. 

As your legal representatives and advisors, DPP Law can offer you:

  • Trustworthy 24-hour specialist legal advice, counsel and support
  • More than 30 years’ of experience
  • Clarity and transparency throughout

To find out if you can make a claim for unlawful entry and searches by police of your property, get in touch with the legal experts at DPP Law today. We’ll discuss your case with you and help you with your complaint.

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