Start your claim

Has your home been wrongly raided? What is the police raid procedure?

The police are entitled to enter your home for a wide variety of reasons, ranging from drugs searches to public order offences. However, there is widespread confusion about your rights and the law when faced with a police raid, and officers are not allowed to discriminate against any individual and must be accountable for their actions.

If the police wrongly raid your home, they may have infringed your right to privacy and family life, which is protected under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and enshrined in UK law under the Human Rights Act 1998.

If you’re concerned the police may have wrongly raided your home or broken the rules around search warrants, causing you to suffer as a result, this article will provide guidance about your rights and the police powers of entry and search of premises

What powers do police have to enter and search premises under UK law?

The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) is in place to ensure that police powers to enter and search your home under a warrant are not abused.

The PACE Act states that, in certain circumstances, the police are allowed to enter a home and search it to either arrest a person, seize items in connection with an offence, or both.

The police can enter and search your home:

  1. With your consent.
  2. After the arrest of you or someone else linked to your property.
  3. Under a search warrant.
  4. Under terrorism legislation.

What are the police raid procedures WITHOUT a warrant?

The police don’t always need a warrant to search your home. They have a number of different powers they can use to enter and search your home, both with and without a warrant.

In general, the police CANNOT search your home, or car, without a warrant unless:

  • They obtain permission of the person concerned (written consent is needed to make the search lawful).
  • A delay in obtaining a warrant is likely to see justice defeated (E.G: evidence removed or destroyed).

The police CAN enter without a warrant if they:

  • Need to stop a crime which is in progress.
  • Can prevent a crime they suspect is about to happen.
  • Can save a life, prevent serious injury or prevent damage to a property.
  • Need to sort out a disturbance.
  • Hear distressed cries or a cry for help.
  • Need to enforce an arrest warrant.
  • Are invited in by the occupant.
  • Are in close pursuit of someone they believe has committed, or attempted to commit, a serious crime.
  • Need to arrest you or if you’re already under arrest.

What are the police raid procedures WITH a warrant?

Search warrants can only be granted by a Justice of the Peace sitting in a magistrates’ court, following a written application by the police.

The police don’t need to show a warrant before entering your home if it could aid the escape of a person they want to arrest or enable evidence to be destroyed. A warrant must be shown ‘as soon as practicable’ and you have the right to keep a copy.

If they police HAVE obtained a warrant they must:

  • Carry out a search within three months of the date the warrant was issued.
  • Only enter premises on one occasion only (unless warrant states otherwise)
  • Make a search at a reasonable hour – unless it hinders the search’s purpose.
  • Request entry by consent first (subject to certain exceptions).
  • Identify the officers involved and explain the purpose and grounds for the search.
  • Only use reasonable and proportionate force to enter if it is necessary.
  • Give the home occupier a copy of the warrant and a Notice of Rights and Powers. If not there, the documents must be left in a prominent place.
  • A search may not continue after the items specified in the warrant have been found, or after the officer in charge is satisfied they are not there.
  • Take due consideration for the property and privacy of the occupier – using no more disturbance than is necessary.
  • A friend, neighbour or other person must be allowed to witness the search if the occupier wishes – unless the officer in charge has reasonable grounds to believe it would seriously hinder the investigation or endanger officers.
  • Premises which have been entered by force must be left secure.

If the police raid procedures are not followed correctly, you may be able to claim compensation for any pain or suffering you experienced as a result.

What happens if the police raid the wrong address?

When the police raid a property, the must have “reasonable” grounds for suspecting they will find evidence relating to an offence.

However, this can sometimes mean they raid the ‘last known address’ of a suspect – even though they no longer live there.

If this happens to you and your home is wrongly searched by mistake, you may be entitled to compensation as the PACE Code of Practice says “everything possible should be done at the earliest opportunity to allay any sense of grievance”.

Are police raid procedures different for a shared house?

In a shared property, the police are only allowed to search areas that are reasonably required to locate evidence, such as shared communal spaces or a person’s room.

If you live in a rental property, the police cannot conduct a search solely on the basis of your landlord’s consent. But they are allowed to gain consent from a housemate or family member, who is entitled to permit entry.

Can you film the police during a raid on your home?

If you want to, you are perfectly entitled to film the police whilst a search of your home is taking place, but in doing so you must not obstruct officers.

Even if they threaten to, the police cannot seize your camera unless they believe it contains evidence of an offence.

The police damaged my property, who pays? Will they pay for damage to my door?

If the police search an address in error, they must pay to repair any damage which is caused – including damage to a door.

If the search is lawful and the force used was reasonable, proportionate and necessary to gain entry, the occupier of the premises is responsible for any repair bills which result from the police forcing entry.

If you are a tenant in a rented property, your landlord may ask you to pay or seek to take the costs from your deposit.

When the police leave, the officer in charge must make sure your premises are secure by arranging for the occupier or landlord to be present. If either of these parties are unavailable, any appropriate means can be used to temporarily secure a property.

Why you may be able to seek damages against the police

If you believe you have suffered because the police abused their search powers, our Civil Liberties lawyers can advise you about the options available.

Whether or not a search ends in a charge, you may be able to bring a civil claim for damages if a raid was conducted unlawfully.

This might be because of a defective search warrant or if certain measures were not followed correctly. The use of unnecessary or excessive force could also be classed as an assault.

Unfortunately, a simple mistake like raiding the wrong home can have far-reaching consequences for the victims involved – such as financial insecurity, reputational damage and, in extreme circumstances, even the loss of a home.

It is something we see far too often in our work at Hudgell Solicitors, and we have recovered damages for many people who have had their homes wrongly raided due to police errors.

Depending on the strength of your case, we could help you make a complaint to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), ask for an investigation to be carried out into the circumstances and help you to access the justice you deserve

What Our Clients Say

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Anthony and his team at Hudgell…"

Anthony and his team at Hudgell solicitors are extremely professional and caring People. From the first phone conversation right through to completion i was always kept updated, if i had any concerns and contacted them, they were always happy to listen and put my mind at rest. I would highly…

Mrs lisa martinJanuary 21, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Excellent service"

Great service . Made me feel at ease . Proffesional and very quick to respond to any questions or concerns I would highly reccomend

LesleyJanuary 21, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Excellent service"

Excellent service

JensonJanuary 21, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Excellent service"

Excellent service, Alex Garven was most helpful in dealing with my claim. Many thanks for his hard work in getting a result for me,. It took quite a while but during that time I received regular progress updates and a quick response if I had any queries .

Jill ElliottJanuary 15, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Lauren Dale"

Lauren Dale was so sensitive when dealing with my mums claim and she totally understood what i really wanted from the outcome. she kept me fully informed of everything, as and when it happened. I cannot thank her enough for her help and understanding on such a sensitive case. 5…

Jane from North YorkshieJanuary 11, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Excellent Service"

Excellent, professional and friendly solicitors. It was a very simple process and they kept in constant contact to update me on any developments. Would definitely recommend.

Philippa January 09, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Could not have been simpler or easier"

Could not have been simpler or easier, they did everything required and more. Nice, pleasant to talk to, they do all the leg work, put everything into context and resolve as quick as possible. Hopefully will not have to use again but if a situation arises then would not hesitate…

DarrenJanuary 08, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Very helpful and always kept in touch…"

Very helpful and always kept in touch via email through the while process. Highly recommended

Joseph Conrad Waudby January 07, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Brilliant customer service"

Brilliant customer service, always will contact you as they say they will. Have been very helpful with my case and explained the process thoroughly, very easy to understand. Would definitely recommend.

Julia MatildaJanuary 07, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Verry happy with the result they got…"

Verry happy with the result they got for my claim very officiant and professional my particular solicitor was the most friendly official type person that I have dealt with before really happy with the freindly kind manner in which they dealt with myself and my claim I would recommend them…

Richard RobertsJanuary 07, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Very impressed with the fast turn…"

Very impressed with the fast turn around of Hudgell. Very responsive and friendly too.

CustomerJanuary 03, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Wonderful service"

Wonderful service, was kept up to date regularly and once they received an offer to settle my case, they advised that they could get a better offer and did just that, will definitely pick up the phone again if I ever require their services in future.

Jordan HowarthJanuary 03, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"These solicitors were very helpful and…"

These solicitors were very helpful and I was surprised when they told me that they were pursuing a totally different avenue to the one I thought was available. They were very efficient, constantly in communication with myself and were direct with the opposite party. Needless to say, they won my…

GARY COSGROVEJanuary 03, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Take a leaf out of there book"

I would certainly recommend Was kept up to date via email promptly each time I asked a question Postal and email correspondence was fluent and my claim settled in a timely manner Many thanks to Alex and his hard work

Mandy Michelle WainwrightJanuary 03, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Couldn’t of chose a better solicitors…"

Couldn’t of chose a better solicitors to go through my claim with, Sarah informed me every step of the way (even when they was nothing to update me with) was such a quick process and she couldn’t of been more helpful ! 5*

Courtney FriendJanuary 03, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"karl griffin fantastic man"

karl griffin was fantastic extremely helpful and fought every step of the way for me he was always there whenever i needed him i highly recommend hudgell solicitors to anyone who needs there help they made a horrible situation dissappear

Jeni DaleJanuary 03, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Alex is amazing"

Alex is amazing! He took over my claim and everything changed from negative to positive. Case still ongoing but fantastic service so far from Alex. Great communication - answering calls and emails. Spot on in everything. I am very glad he is handling my case now and I am confident…

Seth OppongDecember 27, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Highly recommended"

Excellent service and communication from start to finish. The whole process of handling my personal injury claim was dealt with quickly and courteously.

MikeNovember 26, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Becci was amazing"

Becci was amazing, she was so friendly and helpful and couldn’t have done a better job at helping me with my claim. Very happy.

Katherine JanineNovember 08, 2019