Search warrants play a crucial role in the legal system, allowing law enforcement agencies to search premises and gather evidence for investigations.
There are a large number of powers to issue search warrants which includes the general power under section 8 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, which is to look for evidence of a criminal offence.
They are issued by district judges in a magistrates court, ensuring a balance between personal privacy and the need for effective law enforcement.
Approximately 40,000 search warrants are issued in England and Wales each year.
The purpose of search warrants
Search warrants can serve multiple purposes and are an essential part of investigating crime but they are also one of the most intrusive powers of the state as they provide the ability to interfere with an individual’s privacy and collect large amounts of personal information.
They are primarily intended to strike a balance between individual privacy rights and the state’s duty to maintain law and order.
The specific objectives of a search warrant include:
Search warrants empower law enforcement agencies to access and collect evidence that is crucial to ongoing investigations.
This evidence may include physical objects, documents, electronic devices, or any other relevant materials.
Search warrants protect individuals from unjustified or arbitrary searches by ensuring that authorities must meet specific legal requirements and obtain judicial approval before entering private premises.
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Solicitor – Criminal Department
I am also a fully Accredited Police Station Representative, an Accredited Duty Solicitor and a Member of the Criminal Litigation Accreditation Scheme (CLAS).
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