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Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984

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32 Search upon arrest.E+W

(1)A constable may search an arrested person, in any case where the person to be searched has been arrested at a place other than a police station, if the constable has reasonable grounds for believing that the arrested person may present a danger to himself or others.

(2)Subject to subsections (3) to (5) below, a constable shall also have power in any such case—

(a)to search the arrested person for anything—

(i)which he might use to assist him to escape from lawful custody; or

(ii)which might be evidence relating to an offence; and

[F1(b)if the offence for which he has been arrested is an indictable offence, to enter and search any premises in which he was when arrested or immediately before he was arrested for evidence relating to the offence.]

F1(3)The power to search conferred by subsection (2) above is only a power to search to the extent that is reasonably required for the purpose of discovering any such thing or any such evidence.

(4)The powers conferred by this section to search a person are not to be construed as authorising a constable to require a person to remove any of his clothing in public other than an outer coat, jacket or gloves [F2but they do authorise a search of a person’s mouth].

(5)A constable may not search a person in the exercise of the power conferred by subsection (2)(a) above unless he has reasonable grounds for believing that the person to be searched may have concealed on him anything for which a search is permitted under that paragraph.

(6)A constable may not search premises in the exercise of the power conferred by subsection (2)(b) above unless he has reasonable grounds for believing that there is evidence for which a search is permitted under that paragraph on the premises.

(7)In so far as the power of search conferred by subsection (2)(b) above relates to premises consisting of two or more separate dwellings, it is limited to a power to search—

(a)any dwelling in which the arrest took place or in which the person arrested was immediately before his arrest; and

(b)any parts of the premises which the occupier of any such dwelling uses in common with the occupiers of any other dwellings comprised in the premises.

(8)A constable searching a person in the exercise of the power conferred by subsection (1) above may seize and retain anything he finds, if he has reasonable grounds for believing that the person searched might use it to cause physical injury to himself or to any other person.

(9)A constable searching a person in the exercise of the power conferred by subsection (2)(a) above may seize and retain anything he finds, other than an item subject to legal privilege, if he has reasonable grounds for believing—

(a)that he might use it to assist him to escape from lawful custody; or

(b)that it is evidence of an offence or has been obtained in consequence of the commission of an offence.

(10)Nothing in this section shall be taken to affect the power conferred by [F3section 43 of the Terrorism Act 2000].

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Amendments (Textual)

F2Words in s. 32(4) inserted (10.4.1995) by 1994 c. 33, s. 59(2); S.I. 1995/721, art. 2, Sch.

F3Words in s. 32(10) substituted (19.2.2001) by 2000 c. 11, ss. 125(1), Sch. 15 para. 5(3) (with s. 29(1)); S.I. 2001/421

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

C1S. 32 modified (3.11.1994) by 1994 c. 33, ss. 166(5), 172(2)(4)

C3Ss. 8, 9, 15, 16, 17(1)(b)(2) (4), 18-20, 21, 22(1)-(4), 28, 29, 30(1)-(4)(a)(5)-(11), 31, 32(1)-(9), 34(1)-(5), 35, 36, 37, 39, 40-44, 50, 51(d), 52, 54, 55, 64(1)-(4)(5)(6), Sch. 1 applied with modifications by S.I. 1985/1800, arts. 3-11, Schs. 1, 2

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