Search warrants are obtained by the police in the UK to search:
- a place, or
- a vehicle
for evidence of a crime.
The police search warrant also allows the police to confiscate evidence if found.
Reasons the Police Apply for Search Warrants in the UK
A police search warrant is issued by a Magistrates’ Court and must be supported by evidence from the police that the search warrant is necessary.
The police have many statutory powers enabling them to apply for, and obtain from a Magistrates’ Court, a search warrant.
The most common way for the police to obtain search warrants is by using s.8 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (‘PACE’).
They must comply with the procedural rules set out in Subsections 15 and 16 of PACE, supplemented by Code B. These rules govern how the police obtain the search warrant and the conduct of any search performed under warrant.
To authorise a police search warrant in the UK, the police must convince the Magistrates’ Court that:
- consent to enter the premises or vehicle will not be forthcoming from the occupier,
- the material which is the subject of the search is likely to be of substantial value to the investigation of a criminal offence,
- the evidence sought is likely to be ‘relevant’ and admissible at trial,
- the evidence sought by the police under search warrant does not consist of legally privileged or other material likely to be excluded at trial.
How Police Search Warrants are Carried Out
Once the police search warrant has been issued, the police can use it to search and force entry to premises or vehicles even if:
- they have been refused entry by the occupier,
- they cannot communicate with the occupier in advance of the search,
- the occupier is not at the premises or vehicle,
- the premises or vehicle are not occupied, or
- they have ‘reasonable grounds’ for thinking that if they do not enter the premises or vehicle it will hinder the search or place someone in danger.
As well as carrying out search warrants for evidence of crime, the police can also obtain a search warrant in the UK to pursue a warrant for arrest or a warrant of commitment under s.76 of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980.
Solicitors who will help you claim compensation for unlawful search warrants in the UK
If a police search warrant was unlawfully obtained or executed against you, you may be entitled to compensation.
Go to our home page (click here) for more information.
We help people throughout England & Wales claim compensation for unlawful search warrants.
In situations like this you require expert assistance from solicitors experienced in claiming compensation for unlawfully obtained and/ or executed search warrants, so call Donoghue Solicitors today on 08000 124 246 or complete the online form on this page.
One of our expert lawyers will review your police search warrant claim to help you claim the compensation you deserve.