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London Local Authorities Act 2007

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71Temporary sleeping accommodation: powers of entry, search and seizure

(1)An authorised officer may, at all reasonable hours and on production, if required, of his credentials, exercise the following powers, that is to say—

(a)he may, for the purpose of ascertaining whether a relevant offence has been committed, inspect any relevant items and enter any premises other than premises used only as a dwelling;

(b)if he has reasonable cause to suspect that a relevant offence has been committed, he may, for the purpose of ascertaining whether it has been committed, require any person carrying on a trade or business or employed in connection with a trade or business to produce any books or documents relating to the trade or business and may take copies of, or of any entry in, any such book or document;

(c)if he has reasonable cause to believe that a relevant offence has been committed, he may seize and detain any relevant items or documents for the purpose of ascertaining, by testing or otherwise, whether the offence has been committed;

(d)he may seize and detain any relevant items or documents which he has reason to believe may be required as evidence in proceedings for a relevant offence;

(e)he may, for the purpose of exercising his powers under this subsection to seize relevant items or documents, but only if and to the extent that it is reasonably necessary in order to obtain evidence in proceedings for a relevant offence, break open any container and, if that person does not comply with the requirement, he may do so himself.

(2)An officer seizing any relevant items or documents in the exercise of his powers under this section shall inform the person from whom they are seized.

(3)If a justice of the peace, on sworn information in writing—

(a)is satisfied that there is reasonable ground to believe either—

(i)that any relevant items, books or documents which a duly authorised officer has power under this section to inspect are on any premises and that their inspection is likely to disclose evidence of the commission of a relevant offence; or

(ii)that any relevant offence has been, is being or is about to be committed on any premises; and

(b)is also satisfied either—

(i)that admission to the premises has been or is likely to be refused and that notice of intention to apply for a warrant under this subsection has been given to the occupier; or

(ii)that an application for admission, or the giving of such a notice, would defeat the object of the entry or that the premises are unoccupied or that the occupier is temporarily absent and it might defeat the object of the entry to await his return,

the justice may by warrant under his hand, which shall continue in force for a period of one month, authorise an authorised officer to enter the premises, if need be by force.

(4)An officer entering any premises by virtue of this section may take with him such other persons and such equipment as may appear to him necessary; and on leaving any premises which he has entered by virtue of a warrant under the preceding subsection he shall, if the premises are unoccupied or the occupier is temporarily absent, leave them as effectively secured against trespassers as he found them.

(5)If any person who is not an authorised officer purports to act as such under this section he shall be guilty of an offence liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.

(6)Nothing in this section shall be taken to compel the production by a solicitor of a document containing a privileged communication made by or to him in that capacity or to authorise the taking of possession of any such document which is in his possession.

(7)In this section—

  • “relevant enforcement notice” means an enforcement notice issued under section 172 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (c. 8) (issue of enforcement notice) in respect of a material change of use of the type described in section 25 (provision of temporary sleeping accommodation to constitute material change of use) of the Greater London Council (General Powers) Act 1973 (c. xxx);

  • “relevant items” means computers, software and other items which may be used to store or record information;

  • “relevant offence” means an offence under section 179 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 in relation to a relevant enforcement notice.

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