Dawn Raids, Search and Seizure

Our criminal law team includes specialists in all areas of criminal investigations and police station advice, and has extensive experience dealing with police raids and search and seizure operations whatever time of the day and in all types of cases. 

Our reputation is based on over 75 years of providing quality assistance to our clients, protecting their rights and interests, and striving to get our clients the best result. Our size and breadth of experience explains why we were named Firm of the Year: Crime, Fraud and Licensing 2015 by Legal 500.

Our lawyers have a variety of experience which allows us to tailor your representation to your specific needs, combining our regulatory, civil and criminal expertise to find a solution to your problem.

What happens if I am subject to an investigation?

Often the first indication of a criminal investigation is the arrival of a number of investigating officers at your home or office - a so-called 'dawn raid'.  Officers may be there to arrest individuals and/or to search for, seize and retain material relevant to a criminal investigation.

What are search and seizure operations and search orders? 

These relate to powers granted either by statute or by a court to permit the search of premises in order to locate, seize and retain documentation or other material relevant to an investigation.

What should I do if I am subject to a police raid or search order ?

If you should find yourself or your premises subject to a search order, or police raid, you need to act quickly to obtain legal advice as to whether the order could be set aside before the search begins.  

We can advise on the merits of making such applications and can also assist with ensuring your rights are protected during the search.  We will deploy staff immediately to check the validity, legality and scope of the search and advise you on the protections available, particularly where material is subject to conditions of confidentiality and/or Legal Professional Privilege (LPP).

We will remain present and supervise the search where necessary to ensure that the investigator does not exceed the power granted by the order.

What can be seized during a police raid or search?

The seizure and retention of computers and other devices is often a major issue in raids.  Relevant material may be inextricably linked to information that has no bearing on an investigation but is vital to your day-to-day work.  We can give you pragmatic advice on how to deal with these issues.

The investigating authorities may lead you to believe that everything has to be seized and removed for review at a later stage, leaving your business crippled at least for a short period, following a raid.  Most investigators have the capability to image documents and computers in situ.  Wherever possible we ensure that proper consideration has been given to minimising the disruption to your business and home.

What other issues may arise from a police raid or search?

If individuals are to be interviewed as part of a criminal investigation, we can advise them, whether they are being interviewed as either suspects or witnesses.

Collateral issues following arrest, search and seizure of material could include civil, employment, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) authorisation or reputation damage.

We can call on the expertise of other teams in the firm to provide expert advice on civil matters such as civil injunctions, employment matters such as related disciplinary procedures and in taking action to protect you or your firm’s reputation by asking the International Press Standards Organisation to intervene.

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