Search of premises without a warrant
Search of premises without a warrant

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

  • Search of premises without a warrant
  • Section 32 search on arrest
  • Section 18 searches after arrest
  • Search of premises with consent

The powers of the police to enter and search premises are both extensive and various. The police may search premises on the authority of a warrant from a court, or without warrant under a number of statutory powers. Many of these powers are governed by the Part II of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE 1984) and Code B of the PACE 1984 Codes of Practice.

The powers to search premises without warrant on or after an arrest are found in PACE 1984, ss 18 and 32 and are the subject of this Practice Note.

For information on obtaining search warrants under PACE 1984, ss 8 and 9, see Practice Notes: Obtaining and executing a search warrant and Obtaining excluded material and special procedure material under PACE 1984.

There is no priority or preference between the use of the search warrant procedure (under PACE 1984, ss 8–9) and the use of the post-arrest search powers (under PACE 1984, ss 18 and 32). These are separate search powers, which have distinct criteria which must be met before the powers can be used. Where the criteria for both processes can be fulfilled, then it is a matter of choice for the police which power to use. In R(on the application of Singh) v National Crime Agency, the suspects in a bribery investigation unsuccessfully