Intimate searches
Intimate searches

The following Corporate Crime guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Intimate searches
  • Authorising and ordering intimate searches
  • Drugs offences
  • Intimate searches for other concealed articles
  • Young people, the mentally disordered and otherwise mentally vulnerable suspects
  • Where should an intimate search be carried out?
  • The lawyer's role

Authorising and ordering intimate searches

An intimate search is the physical examination of any of the suspect’s body orifices other than the mouth. This is a physical intrusion, not simply a visual examination. Only a suspect who is under arrest and in police detention can be subjected to an intimate search.

An intimate search can only be authorised by an officer who has a reasonable belief that what they are looking for cannot be found without it.

An inspector may order an intimate search if he has a reasonable belief that

  1. a detained individual has concealed upon his person:

    1. anything that could cause physical harm to themselves or others, and

    2. he may harm himself or others whilst in the detention of the police or the custody of the court, or

  2. a detained individual:

    1. may have Class A drugs concealed on his person, and

    2. at the time he was arrested, he was in possession of those drugs with the intention of supplying or exporting them

The authorisation may be given orally or in writing. However, if it is given orally it must be put in writing as soon as practicable after the authorisation.

If the offence concerns drugs and requires a search it can only be carried out with the appropriate consent given in writing. Furthermore, the person who shall be subject to