Dawn raids, search and seizure operations are a critical stage of criminal, regulatory and civil investigations. They place considerable pressure on businesses and individuals and can be very stressful.
The first time an individual or company becomes aware that it is subject to an investigation is when investigators appear at their doorstep seeking to conduct a search to locate, seize and retain documentation or other material relevant to an investigation. This may also include the arrest individuals. It is at this point that you should immediately seek legal advice by contacting us on the numbers provided below.
Entry can be obtained through statutory powers or by a court order in both criminal and civil cases. They are available to a wide range of law enforcement bodies including the police, Serious Fraud Office, Financial Conduct Authority, HM Revenue and Customs, Health and Safety Executive, and local authorities.
Our team helps to supervise searches to ensure that the rights and entitlements of our clients are preserved. We ensure that investigators do not go outside of the scope of the warrant.
We also provide comprehensive advice about the steps following the aftermath of a search including challenging the legal basis of a search and dealing with any subsequent investigations and prosecutions. We also assist with strategies to avoid reputation damage.
There is no legal obligation for investigators to wait for legal teams to arrive before conducting a search.
If they refuse to do so, here are some key points of advice:
Obtain a copy of any search warrants or investigators authorisation documents and check the scope of the document
You should not be excluded from the search unless there is good reason to do so and the investigators should explain their reason for this
Maintain a detailed record of what has been done, areas searched and items seized and keep a note of the times. If this is a search of company premises you may want to instruct a team of employees to assist with this as there could be several investigators on site
Try to delay answering questions until a solicitor arrives
Do not try to obstruct the investigators as you may be committing a criminal offence
Do not try to destroy, delete or hide any documents or files.
Ian Ryan: +44 (0)7802 613 477
John Martyn:+44 (0)7590 556 609