Police Searches in Western Australia

Police searches are performed by the police under a search warrant, supported with a genuine suspicion of the existence of a possible crime. Such warrants are also reinforced with credible evidence available. A police search is not equal to detention. It is simply a special power of the authority to perform a personal search on a property or person suspected of a crime.

Types of Police Searches

There are rules that governs polices searches. It can be performed with or without a warrant. Such actions are governed by the Criminal Act 2006 (WA), Weapons Act 1999 (WA), Misuse of Drugs Act 1981 (WA), Firearms Act 1973 (WA) and the Criminal Property Confiscation Act 2000 (WA).

There are two types of police searches:

Basic Police Search – this type of police search can be a frisk search or with the use of a scanner. The person of interest may also be requested to remove external clothing like shoes and hats.

Strip Police Search – this type of police search is a process wherein a reasonable number of clothing are removed to be able to search the body. The mouth can also be checked in this type of police search.

What is a Search Warrant?

A search warrant is a written authority used in polices searches that gives these authorities to enter premises without possible charges. It gives powers to authorities to enter a suspected property most especially if the owner refuses to allow such. Search warrants are executed on the date indicated in the warrant. Warrants governed by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1981 can be executed anytime for 30 days after the date on the warrant.

Search warrants are governed by the following acts:

  • Criminal Investigation Act of 2006
  • Criminal Property Confiscation Act of 2006
  • Misuse of Drugs Act 1981
  • Firearms Act 1973, and
  • Weapons Act of 1999

Common offences can be also issues with a warrant under the Crimes Act 1914. Search warrants and arrest warrants applications are submitted to a Magistrate or Justice of the Peace.

Guidelines for Search Warrant Applications

Search warrants are related only to request of assistance to execute police searches or warrants by the department concern on a criminal investigation. It is not intended to affect AFP decisions or interfere with secondment or outpost agreements of the department conducting the investigation and the AFP.

Search Warrants Provisions

Provisions for search warrants can be found in the 3E of the Crimes Act 1914. Such provisions apply to Commonwealth related crimes. Such warrants can be only executed by a police officer. Forfeiture of seized items and other specific search warrant provisions exist in other Acts and may considered more appropriate for some situations.

Wrongful Arrest and False Imprisonment

Deprivation of Liberty is Western Australia’s equivalent to a wrongful arrest or false imprisonment. The WA Law for the charge of Deprivation of Liberty under Section 333 states that “Any person who unlawfully detains another person, is guilty of a crime. Such charges, when proven guilty can take up to 10 years maximum in prison. Matters under these circumstances are heard in the District Court.

Deprivation of Liberty include;

(1) A person detaining another person;

(2) That the other person did not consent to being detained; and

(3) That the detention was unlawful, un authorised, justified or excused by law.

Illegally detained? Abused during a police search? Maligned under an illegal search warrant. Call us at our 24/7 hotline +61 8 6323 8697. Kean Legal Barristers & Solicitors is ready to help.

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