The police routinely conduct raids and may raid your property if you are suspected of a terrorism related offence.
Being raided can at times be a very traumatic experience for you and your family.
Here are some practical tips and important information in understanding what to expect of a raid and what your rights are.
Statistically, you are unlikely to be charged and even less likely to be convicted of a crime following a terrorism raid.
- The police may enter your home forcefully and shout in order to disorientate those inside. You should remain calm and reassure your family.
- If you have women in your household who wear the headscarf then they should do so immediately.
- Comply with police instructions and avoid confrontation.
- Seek immediate legal assistance.
- Record any unacceptable behaviour by the police.
- Raids can occur at any “reasonable” time. Raids at dawn, for example, are considered “reasonable.”
- Police should provide you with a Notice of Powers and Rights; this includes the basis for the search, whether the search is made under a warrant, the powers the officer has to search the premises and your rights as the occupier.
- This should be given to you before the search begins or left in a prominent place if you are not present during the raid.
Yes, under normal circumstances. There are limited exceptional circumstances when police can enter a property without a warrant.
- If you provide consent. Prior to providing consent, the officer requesting access to the property should explain the reason they would like to search, inform you that you do not need to provide consent and tell you that anything seized could be used as evidence.
- A raid can occur on a property without a warrant if the police wish to arrest a person or have arrested a person and there are “reasonable grounds” that they may find evidence related to the offence you were arrested for or another offence.
- The police do not require a search warrant when they think a crime is about to happen, in order to stop a crime which is happening or to save a person’s life or prevent damage to property.
- The warrant should provide the following information:
- Your address
- The reason it has been issued
- Unless the warrant explicitly states that people can be searched, a warrant does not allow police officers to search people within the property, only the property.
- However, police may be able to search you under a provision of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, especially if you have been arrested. You should ask for their justification of why a search is required.
- It must be shown as soon as “reasonably practicable.” Generally, this means once the property has been secured and everyone has been escorted to a singular room. You have the right to a copy of the warrant.
- Consent for a raid cannot be provided by your landlord, the police have to seek consent from someone entitled to allow entry.
- If, for example, you live in a house with multiple occupancy or student accommodation, and the police have come after an arrest or come to arrest, consent is not required. However, they can only search places where they may reasonably find evidence. An example being the person’s bedroom or communal spaces.
- Yes, you are allowed, as long as you are not getting in the way of the police officers.
- The police officers cannot seize the camera unless they believe it is evidence or contains evidence of an offence.
You are not obliged to answer any questions and should seek legal advice.
A number of items may have been taken during a raid. The most common of which are:
2. Passports and personal documentation
You should pursue the return of these documents with some urgency. The lack of identification may be a hindrance to applying for jobs, benefits, housing and access to other state services. Lawyers should be able to assist you with this.
- For large amounts of cash seized, you will have to explain where this has come from. It is important that you can evidence this, this may include invoices and bank statements
- Money over £1,000 can be seized if police have “reasonable grounds” to believe that it has been gained from illegal activities or could be used for illegal activities.
- Should you be present during a raid, police should allow you to see when money is seized and request you sign seized money when it is put in an evidence bag.
- In instances in which financing terrorism cannot be proven, legal action for fraud may be pursued
- The police should provide a receipt of items seized in a “reasonable” amount of time.
- Police are allowed to keep items which they have seized for “as long is necessary”, e.g. for a trial.
- If items can be copied, then this should be used as an alternative. This includes data from computers, hard drives and memory sticks.
You or your solicitor can write to the officer in charge of the investigation to ask for them to return your items.
Raids can be quite public. You may find yourself contacted or approached by a journalist asking questions about what has happened. You have no obligations to respond to their questions and can respectfully refuse to respond.