Conducting two s18 searches at the same property

02 August 2017

Not reviewed after the date of publication

Question:

If a section 18 search of premises is carried out on the authority of an Inspector whilst a detainee is in custody, can that Inspector authorise a further section 18 search of the same premises during the same period of detention?

Answer:

Generally the same section 18 authority would remain in force while the detainee remains under arrest, relating to the same premises, and evidence relating to that offence. In some circumstances there may be a requirement to issue another section 18 authority for some different premises that are occupied or controlled by the arrested person, but it should not be for the same premises as the original section 18 should still remain in force – unless accentuating circumstances apply.

There is nothing within section 18 that would prevent a further section 18 search on the same premises being authorised as long as all of the requirements of the section are met. Depending on the circumstances, a further search/authority may be seen as an abuse of power, which may be avoided by applying for a section 8 warrant instead. If a further search were to be authorised, the full reasons for it would need to be shown.

It should be noted that section 18(3) it states 'the power to search conferred by subsection (1) above is only a power to search to the extent that is reasonably required for the purpose of discovering such evidence.' Therefore, whether a further search would be considered to be 'reasonably required' will depend upon all the circumstances and there is a chance that it may not be considered so which may render any evidence seized being held to be inadmissible.

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