Property police searches are conducted not only to be able to investigate suspected criminal activity that has happened but as well as to prevent crime and protect property from possible criminal damage. Police property searches can be conducted with, and without a warrant in different circumstances.
Giving your consent allows the police to carry out on your property. However, in the event that a property owner refuses to allow the police to carry out a search, the police may procure a warrant to be able to do so. The search warrant may be issued by a Justice of the peace, a Magistrate, or a Judge that gives the police authority to search a property or vehicle. In some instances, the police can perform a search even without the consent or even without a search warrant if they have a reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed.
Is force required during a property police search?
Reasonable force may be used against any person that interferes as the police carry out a search. This may also include damage to property. However, if you feel that unreasonable damage and force has been carried out by the police during the property search, you may consider filing a legal action against them. The following actions can also be taken:
- Put into writing the incident as well as the name, rank and badge number of the officers that conducted the property search
- Take photos of the damages with date included to be able to record the damages in the property
- Get a medical certificate from a doctor for any physical injuries suffered during the search
- Photos of the injuries with corresponding date
- Names of witnesses and their testimonies of the unjust use of force during the property search
Legal advice should also be considered if you would want to press charges against the police.
Property Police Searches Procedure
The police can enter your property to do a search with your consent or with a warrant. If you are present, they should be able to do the following prior to entering and conducting a search on your property:
- Identify themselves straight away
- Inform you that they are intending to enter your property
- Give you a copy of the warrant or advise under what legal authority they rely to conduct the search
- A legal authority that gives the police access to enter your property
- Allow you the opportunity to give consent to perform the search
However, in situations wherein a suspect may escape, a person will be endangered or if the search will be jeopardized, the police can enter your property to conduct a search without your consent or even without a warrant. Here are some other situations that allow the police to conduct a property police search without consent and without warrant:
- To look for a suspect
- To look for a person relevant to an incident or offence
- Arrest for serious offences
- Domestic violence is suspected
- Where prostitution offences are suspected
Can I complain about the conduct of the police during a search?
Yes, you can file a complaint if you feel that the police did not behave properly towards you and your property during a property police search. If you have been charged with an offence and are about to face Court, you should get legal advice or a lawyer before making a complaint.
Kean Legal Barristers & Solicitors can attend to your legal needs and represent you in Court if you have been charged. Call us now for assistance. +61 8 6323 8613