Search Legislation

Armed Forces Act 2006

Entry for purposes of obtaining evidence etc
Section 83: Power of judge advocate to authorise entry and search

181.This section is based on section 8 of PACE. It is limited to relevant residential premises and does not apply to other premises occupied by the services. This is because COs and the service police need no statutory power to enter those other areas. A statutory power is only necessary where the occupier would otherwise be entitled to refuse admission.

182.Subsection (1) enables judge advocates, subject to being satisfied on certain matters, to issue warrants authorising the entry and search of relevant residential premises on the application of a service policeman. A warrant cannot be issued for items which are subject to legal privilege, excluded material or special procedure material (which are defined in section 84).

183.Subsection (2) sets out further conditions that must also be met for a warrant to be issued.

184.Subsection (3) authorises a service policeman to seize and retain anything for which the search was authorised.

Section 84: Section 83: definitions

185.This section defines relevant terms used in section 83.

186.The terms “items subject to legal privilege”, “excluded material” and “special procedure material” have the meanings given in PACE. Examples of excluded material include personal records (such as medical records and journalists’ materials), if held in confidence. An example of special procedure material is journalists’ material not held in confidence.

Section 85: Section 83: Power to make supplementary provision

187.This section enables the Secretary of State by order to make provision for the use of live television links (or similar arrangements) for hearing an application for a warrant, where for example a judge advocate might not be readily available as the applicant is overseas.

188.The Secretary of State may also make provisions equivalent to sections 15 and 16 of PACE. These sections include safeguards relating to the issue and execution of warrants; for example, searches under a warrant must usually be made at a reasonable hour and the policeman intending to search must identify himself to the occupier. The order may make modifications to PACE provisions to ensure that the provisions work effectively within the service system.

Section 86: Power to make provision as to access to excluded material etc

189.This section enables the Secretary of State by order to establish procedures to enable service policemen investigating a service offence to apply to a judge advocate for a warrant for access to excluded or special procedure material that is held in any relevant residential premises.

Section 87: Power of CO to authorise entry and search by service policeman

190.This section gives COs a limited power to authorise a service policeman to search relevant residential premises without a warrant. The power may only be exercised where the conditions for obtaining a warrant under section 83 exist and the CO has reasonable grounds for believing that it is likely that the time needed to get a warrant would result in the search being frustrated or seriously prejudiced.

191.Subsection (4) (as read with section 89) provides for the service policeman to seize and retain anything for which the search was authorised, subject to review by a judge advocate as soon as practicable.

Section 88: Power of CO to authorise entry and search by other persons

192.This section gives the CO a similar power to that in section 87, to authorise a member of HM Forces who is not a service policeman to conduct the search. This power can only be used to search service living accommodation. Such accommodation might include shared temporary accommodation on operations overseas or on exercise.

Section 89: Review by judge advocate of certain searches under section 87 or 88

193.This section requires that where any search authorised by a CO under section 87 or 88 has resulted in anything being seized and retained, a judge advocate must be asked to review the search, seizure and retention as soon as practicable.

194.The section enables the Secretary of State to make provision by order governing the powers of judge advocates in respect of these reviews.

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