Activist Rights

What can they confiscate?

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Police will take away anything that is illegal for you to have or that is evidence of a crime. Check every item police attempt to take away, and ensure your witnesses see that police don’t plant or falsely “find” anything. Insist on a detailed receipt for anything that is taken – this can be cross-referenced with the report to the magistrate. Do not sign this receipt if it is not accurate or not fully detailed.

If property is taken from you during an arrest or at a demonstration you can:

  • go to the police station and ask for your things back; or
  • have a lawyer write a letter to police immediately, demanding return of the property.
  • raise the matter before a magistrate, if you are charged.

Put on record as soon as possible what was taken, where it was taken and by whom. This helps any legal follow-up that may be necessary.

Be aware that the search must be for the objects that the police reasonably suspect you possess.  This means that drug search is not a weapons search and a weapons search is not a graffiti item search.  While this mostly will have little practical implication, weapon’s searches are not generally as invasive as (some) drug searches.  If the police search go beyond what is reasonable in light of the search they are conducting, it is unlawful. 

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