10 THINGS TO DO IF YOUR HOME IS BEING SEARCHED BY THE POLICE
1. General notes: Take notes right from the start, recording precise times, names & ranks, things said to you and phone numbers (both received and dialled). After it’s all over, you’ll probably need to write a detailed record of what happened, from your personal experience, and it’s much easier if you record everything, as it happens.If you would like to buy the book - maybe you are a partner of a politician, or you know someone who is - click HERE.
2. Formal documents: Keep copies of every document shown to you and retain any business card. Ask questions about what they’re searching for. Check carefully the details of any search warrant. You will have to give names and dates of birth of all people who live in the house, even children away at university.
3. Police recordings: Assume everything you say and do is being recorded (and assume your emails, phone calls and texts are being intercepted). Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean you’re not subject to surveillance. If you feel unhappy, scared or intimidated, you should say so to the officers and they will make a note of what you have said in their notebooks.
4. Photographs: Take photographs of everything that is going on around you. If you’re not under arrest and you live in the house you’re perfectly entitled to do this. Make sure your camera (if digital) shows the accurate time and date.
5. Hospitality and food: Always have enough milk in the house, so you can offer coffee or tea. Eat proper meals during the search – it may go on a long time and you need to keep your blood sugar topped up, particularly if you’re suffering from shock. The same applies to children: there is something very comforting about filling the house with the smell of grilling sausages.
6. Copies of items seized: You are entitled to be told precisely what is being taken from your house. It is wise to insist on having copies of all the documents, and to take photographs of any item being removed before it leaves your house (even if those things have already been put into ‘evidence’ bags). It is generally better to make physical copies of documents or to scan them, rather than to photograph them, as photographs can be distorted. If you have a photocopier with a sheet feeder it is much quicker than putting individual sheets on a scanner. You are entitled to challenge the removal of any item which does not appear to be covered by the terms of the search warrant.
7. Spring cleaning afterwards: The knowledge that police officers have gone through every room in the house and have taken photographs of everything, can leave you feeling as violated as if the house has been burgled. Take control of these feelings by having a major tidy up around the house after they’ve gone. Move the furniture around, put up new pictures, and do all the filing that you’d been putting off. Upgrade your mobile phone if they have insisted on taking full details of the serial numbers.
8. Recycle redundant electronic goods: Make sure, when upgrading any mobile phone, to dispose of the old handset rather than leave it in a desk drawer and forget about it. That can save the police wasting a huge amount of time packing it up as ‘evidence’ for detailed technical investigation in a neat cardboard box, held in place with plastic ties, when it hasn’t been used for years. The same goes for old laptop computers and old printers.
9. Attendant publicity: However discreet the police may be in searching your home, if you are in the public eye, the media will soon be very interested in the fact that your home has been searched. As a rule of thumb, the interest can be measured by the number of photographers camped outside your home at any moment. (If you ask them nicely, they will not take pictures of your children, but you may have to put up with some pretty unattractive pictures of yourself.)
10. Sources of photographs: A word of warning: if your children’s friends have taken photographs of the whole family while on holiday, and put them on a site like Facebook, then it’s very easy for newspapers to lift them to illustrate a story about you, even if you have been extremely careful not to supply family photographs to the press, to try to preserve some privacy for your children.
Note: If any part of this is being quoted elsewhere, please quote the source - i.e. this blog.
NB NightJack published this "Survival Guide For Decent Talk".