The police have a right to search phones and laptops and other electronic devices, however this search can only be performed if a search warrant has been issued. If the police officer does not have a warrant to search your phone or laptop or other electronic device then any search carried out is an ILLEGAL one.
What should I do if I am stopped?
It is advised to always be calm in any relation with security officials for your own safety. If you are stopped, you should follow the below steps:
- When you are stopped, make note of the officers’ names
- Answer all their questions satisfactorily and do not antagonize them
- If upon answering their questions they request a search, tell them that you do not believe that they have reasonable grounds to request a search as you believe you have answered their questions satisfactorily
- If the officer insists, then comply, however, inform them that you will be raising a formal complaint of unlawful search of you and your property
- If the officer(s) proceeds with search, comply fully
- After search is completed, you should either raise a formal complaint by following the process laid out here, or you may look to engage the services of a lawyer to make a formal complaint and potentially instigate a suit and claim compensation for unlawful search and harassment.
Please note that if you are a female person and you were physically searched, then any search performed on you must only be conducted by a female officer, this is the position of the law, and a physical search on you by a male officer would be unlawful.
If you were extorted during the process, kindly fill out the this form with details of the incident so it can be documented and reported.