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Entry, Search and Seizure 

Entry, Search and Seizure
Entry, Search and Seizure

Paul Connor

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Subscriber: null; date: 15 August 2018

3.1 Introduction

In the course of an investigation you may take part in a search of premises utilising powers under PACE 1984 (although you may not have used all of the powers that will be discussed in this section). A good knowledge and understanding of these powers is essential as a great deal of crucial evidence could be lost if a search is carried out unlawfully. Knowing what you can and cannot do in respect of PACE searches will prevent this undesirable occurrence.

3.2 Aim

The aim of this section is to assist you to understand the powers of entry, search and seizure that derive from the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) 1984.

3.3 Objectives

At the end of this section you should be able to:

  1. 1. Distinguish between the powers under ss. 17, 18, 19 and 32 of PACE 1984.

  2. 2. Identify what an indictable offence is.

  3. 3. State your powers under s. 18 of PACE 1984.

  4. 4. Explain your powers under s. 32 of PACE 1984.

  5. 5. Outline your powers under s. 17 of PACE 1984.

  6. 6. State your powers under s. 19 of PACE 1984.

  7. 7. Demonstrate your knowledge by completing the exercises in this section.

  8. 8. Apply your knowledge to multiple-choice questions.

3.4 Distinguish Between the Powers Under ss. 17, 18, 19 and 32 of PACE 1984

Each of these four sections at your disposal under PACE 1984 provides you with different powers of entry, search and/or seizure. They also require a certain state of mind to exist on the part of the officer in order for the power to be executed. You must be aware of precisely what each section allows along with what you need to be thinking to enable the power.

3.4.1 Exercise—Powers Under ss. 17, 18, 19 and 32 of PACE 1984

What does each power allow you to do? Fill the boxes with a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ where you believe appropriate.


Power to Enter Premises?

Power to Search Premises for Evidence?

Power to Seize Evidence?

Power to Search Person?

Power to Seize Evidence from Person Searched?





3.4.2 Exercise—Suspect or Believe?

We will deal with the specific state of mind required for each power later but for now just consider whether the power requires an officer to suspect or believe.

Tick or cross the box you believe is appropriate for the particular power.


Officer must suspect

Officer must believe





3.5 Indictable Offence

Sections 18 and 32 of PACE 1984 require an arrest to trigger the powers—the arrest must be for an indictable offence.

3.5.1 Exercise—What is an Indictable Offence?

  1. 1. What is an indictable offence?



  2. 2. Based on your answer to Question 1 of this exercise, would the following offences potentially trigger powers of search and seizure under ss. 18 and 32 of PACE?

    1. i. An offence of s. 20 wounding?

      • Yes / No

    2. ii. An offence of burglary?

      • Yes / No

    3. iii. An offence of robbery?

      • Yes / No

3.6 Section 18 of PACE 1984

3.6.1 Exercise—What Do You Know About s. 18 of PACE?

PC SIDAWAY arrests HARTELL at the scene of a rape in a park and escorts him to a designated police station. On arrest HARTELL is wearing a distinctive green jacket. Checks on HARTELL reveal that the rape is highly likely to be the culmination of a series of sexual attacks on women in the park by an offender wearing a similar jacket. However, on the previous occasions the offender has also worn a clown mask and has sexually assaulted his victims after threatening them with a red handled flick-knife. PC SIDAWAY contacts the CID and DC KIRK takes charge of the case. DC KIRK establishes that HARTELL not only lives in a house near to the park but also rents an allotment backing on to the park. The allotment has a shed on it. DC KIRK is thinking about his powers under s. 18 of PACE.

  1. 1. Before DC KIRK can use his s. 18 PACE power, what must he have reasonable grounds to suspect?


  2. 2. Why could a search take place at HARTELL’s home address?


  3. 3. Why could a search take place at the allotment shed rented by HARTELL?


  4. 4. Whose authority is required for this search to take place and how will it be recorded?


  5. 5. Could PC SIDAWAY have carried out a s. 18 search prior to taking HARTELL to the designated police station?

    • Yes / No

    • If ‘Yes’ then why and who would you inform? If ‘No’ then why not?


3.7 Section 32 of PACE 1984

3.7.1 Exercise—What Do You Know About s. 32 of PACE?

TI GREEN is taking a witness statement in CRONIN’s house. While CRONIN is making a cup of tea, TI GREEN looks out of the front window of the house and sees HALLARD walk out of the front door of a house exactly opposite CRONIN’s. HALLARD walks along the footpath to the front gate and stops at the front gate. Moments later LESTER approaches HALLARD and a drug deal takes place after which LESTER walks away. TI GREEN has witnessed the whole episode and leaves CRONIN’s house and approaches HALLARD. As he approaches HALLARD, he witnesses HALLARD drop several wraps of white powder onto the floor. TI GREEN reaches HALLARD, picks up the wraps and arrests HALLARD on suspicion of supplying a controlled drug (triable either way offence).

Think about this situation in respect of s. 32 of PACE.

  1. 1. There are three reasons why TI GREEN could search HALLARD. What are they?

    The officer has reasonable grounds for believing that:

    1. i. _________________________________________________________________________________


    2. ii. _________________________________________________________________________________


    3. iii. _________________________________________________________________________________


  2. 2. What three items of clothing could TI GREEN require HALLARD to remove in public?

    1. i. _________________________________________________________________________________

    2. ii. _________________________________________________________________________________

    3. iii. _________________________________________________________________________________

  3. 3. TI GREEN could search HALLARD’s mouth under s. 32 of PACE.

    • True / False

3.7.2 Exercise—Extent of s. 32 Power

TI GREEN searches HALLARD but does not find any drugs on his person. He asks HALLARD where he lives and HALLARD replies that he lives in a flat several miles away from the scene of the arrest. TI GREEN thinks that there might be drugs in the house that HALLARD walked out of.

Could TI GREEN use s. 32 of PACE to search the house that he saw HALLARD come out of moments before the drug deal and subsequent arrest?

Yes / No

Why / Why not?


3.8 Section 17 of PACE 1984

In essence, s. 17 of PACE is a power of ENTRY, by force if necessary, for the purposes of making an arrest. That entry may well be to arrest for an indictable offence but there is a long list of other offences for which the power exists, e.g. to arrest a person for an offence under s. 4 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (unfit to drive through drink/drugs) or to save life and limb.

Please note the following points regarding s. 17:

  • Apart from when entry is to save life or limb, the officer MUST have reasonable grounds for believing that the person he/she is seeking is on the premises.

  • When entry is to recapture a person unlawfully at large the officer MUST be PURSUING that person.

  • The power of entry is open to ANY officer (no uniform required) apart from two offences:

    1. i. offences under the Criminal Law Act 1977 (entering and remaining on property); and

    2. ii. an offence under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (failing to comply with an interim possession order).

Neither of these offences are on your syllabus so the rule of thumb should be that a UNIFORM IS NOT REQUIRED!

See Investigators’ Manual, para.

3.9 Section 19 of PACE 1984

3.9.1 Exercise—What Do You Know About s. 19 of PACE?

Consider the situation that TI GREEN might find himself in if, once he gets into the house that HALLARD was seen walking out of, he searches and finds a large quantity of cocaine.

Can he seize this cocaine?

Yes / No

Under what power?


3.9.2 Exercise—Extent of s. 19 Power

  1. 1. When can a constable exercise his/her powers under s. 19 of PACE?


  2. 2. The constable may seize anything which is on the premises if he has reasonable grounds for believing that:

    1. i. __________________________________________________________________________________


    2. ii. __________________________________________________________________________________

  3. 3. The items may only be seized if the constable believes it is necessary to prevent the evidence from being:

    1. i. _________________________________________________________________________________

    2. ii. _________________________________________________________________________________

    3. iii. _________________________________________________________________________________

    4. iv. _________________________________________________________________________________

  4. 4. What would happen if the constable wanted to seize information stored on a computer, e.g. child pornography photographs?



  5. 5. This power can be used if the constable is a trespasser.

    • True / False

  6. 6. Could a vehicle be seized under s. 19 of PACE?

3.10 Conclusion

You should now possess a good understanding of what you can and cannot do in respect of your powers to enter premises, search them and individuals, and seize evidence under PACE 1984. There are other areas in respect of searches that have not been covered in this section of the Workbook and you are strongly advised to read them in the Manual.

3.11 Recall Questions

Try and answer the questions below.

  • Which is the only power of search requiring an officer to ‘suspect’?

  • Who authorises a s. 18 PACE search?

  • Could you search a garage under s. 18 of PACE if you suspected that a person controlled it?

  • What does a s. 32 PACE search allow you to do?

  • What can you seize in a s. 32 PACE search?

  • If you are searching a bedsit using s. 32 of PACE, what other rooms/areas might you be able to search?

  • Do you have to be in uniform to enter premises under s. 17 of PACE?

  • Why might you seize an item under your s. 19 PACE power?

  • What is an indictable offence?

  • What is the difference between s. 17 of PACE and ss. 18, 32 and 19 of PACE?

3.12 Multiple-Choice Questions

Answers to these questions can be found in the ‘Answers Section’ at the end of the book. All explanations also include a reference back to the Investigators’ Manual 2018.

1. WADDILOVE has been arrested for an offence of theft from his employer and is in custody at a designated police station. The property stolen consisted of several dozen Dyson vacuum cleaners (worth over £10,000) which were all recovered from a van WADDILOVE was driving when he was arrested. The officer in the case, PC LYNN, has reasonable grounds for suspecting that WADDILOVE may have electrical goods in his house that have come from other thefts from WADDILOVE’s employer and wishes to search WADDILOVE’s house for those goods.

Can PC LYNN use his powers under s. 18 of PACE 1984 to search WADDILOVE’s house?

  1. A No, PC LYNN cannot use his power under s. 18 of PACE as the property he is seeking does not relate to the offence for which WADDILOVE was arrested.

  2. B Yes, PC LYNN can use his power under s. 18 of PACE if an officer of the rank of inspector or above authorises it.

  3. C No, PC LYNN cannot use his power under s. 18 of PACE as the offence of theft is not an indictable offence.

  4. D Yes, PC LYNN can use his power under s. 18 of PACE if he obtains authorisation from the custody officer.

Answer _____________________________

2. DC AHMED wants to arrest LLOYD for an offence of burglary. He visits LLOYD’s home address which is a bedsit inside a larger house. As DC AHMED approaches the front door of LLOYD’s bedsit, it opens and LLOYD steps outside into the hallway holding some of the property stolen in the burglary in his hands. DC AHMED immediately arrests LLOYD for the burglary. DC AHMED now wishes to search LLOYD for anything that might be evidence of the offence as he has reasonable grounds to believe LLOYD has such evidence on his person. He is also considering searching LLOYD’s bedsit and a communal lounge in the house as he has reasonable grounds to suspect that there is evidence relating to the burglary on those premises.

Considering s. 32 of PACE 1984 only, which of the following comments is correct?

  1. A DC AHMED can only search LLOYD.

  2. B DC AHMED can only search LLOYD and the bedsit he has just come out from.

  3. C DC AHMED can search LLOYD, the bedsit he has just come out from and the communal lounge.

  4. D DC AHMED cannot carry out any searches under s. 32 of PACE in these circumstances.

Answer _____________________________

3. TI JACKSON (who is dressed in plain clothes) visits a house owned by LILLY to arrest her for an offence of robbery. TI JACKSON has visited LILLY’s house before and knows that she lives alone. The officer rings the doorbell and steps back from the front door. As he does so, he sees a curtain move in an upstairs bedroom window causing him to believe that LILLY is inside the house. Several minutes later and after ringing the bell three more times and attempting to communicate with anyone inside the house, there is no answer at the door.

Taking into account TI JACKSON’s powers under s. 17 of PACE 1984 only, which of the below comments is correct?

  1. A TI JACKSON cannot force entry into the house to arrest LILLY as he is not in uniform.

  2. B TI JACKSON can force entry into the house to search for and arrest LILLY.

  3. C TI JACKSON cannot force entry into the house unless he has communicated with the occupier who has then refused him entry.

  4. D Section 17 allows TI JACKSON to force entry into the house to search for and arrest LILLY and also to search for evidence relating to the robbery.

Answer _____________________________

4. DC DYER is making house to house enquiries in relation to a murder where the victim was stabbed with a screwdriver. He visits NICKLIN who went to the aid of the victim and was covered in the victim’s blood as a result. NICKLIN invites DC DYER into his house and into the lounge where the two talk about the offence. Several minutes later, NICKLIN says to DC DYER, ‘That is enough for now, I want you to leave my house. You are no longer welcome.’ On his way out of the lounge, DC DYER sees a bloodstained shirt hanging over a radiator in the lounge. DC DYER reasonably believes that the shirt is evidence of the offence of murder that he is investigating.

With regard to powers under s. 19 of PACE 1984 only, which of the following statements is correct?

  1. A DC DYER can seize the bloodstained shirt as he has reasonable grounds to believe that it is evidence in relation to an offence he is investigating.

  2. B Section 19 can only be used when the officer reasonably believes the item has been obtained as a consequence of an offence not as evidence of an offence.

  3. C Section 19 allows DC DYER to seize the bloodstained shirt and to search NICKLIN’s house for evidence relating to the offence he is investigating.

  4. D DC DYER cannot use his powers under s. 19 of PACE 1984 because he has been told to leave and is no longer ‘lawfully’ on the premises.

Answer _____________________________