1. QUESTION(QST): What Does Search Mean?
ANSWER (ANS): Search means the examination of a person’s body, property or other areas that the person would reasonably be expected to consider as private, conducted by a law enforcement officer for purpose of finding evidence of crime.

2. QST: Who Can Legally Conduct a Search on Someone’s Body?
ANS: 1. A Law Enforcement Agent
2. A private person (at the scene of the crime or when evidence of the alleged offence is capable of being found on or around the body of a suspect.

3. QST: Can a Police Officer forcefully conduct a search on me?
ANS: Yes.

4. QST: Under what circumstances can I be searched by force?
ANS: When there is a complaint or allegation of the commission of an offence, especially when it concerns being in possession of stolen property, hard, expired or fake drugs, gun running, currency counterfeiting or fake currency trafficking.

5. QST: Can the Police detain me if they recover anything illegal from me?
ANS: Yes.

6. QST: Can I be searched even when there is no complaint against me?
ANS: Yes. The Police or any law enforcement agent can search you where the person reasonably suspect that you are in possession of something incriminating.

7. QST: What if the suspicion is not reasonable and nothing incriminating was found on me after the search?
ANS: The Police Officer who conducted such search would be liable in damages.

8. QST: I am a woman. Is it lawful for a male police officer to search my body?
ANS: No. A female police officer should be the one to search your body.


9. QST: What about my handbag/purse?
ANS: A male police officer can search those items, including anything that is on the outer part of your body.

10. QST: Even when a person of my gender searches my body, does the law afford me some protections?
ANS: Yes. The Law requires that such search be conducted with a strict regard to decency. For example, such law enforcement agent is not permitted to put his or her hand in your bra or inside your pant at a check point.


11. QST: In the case of an exam, can my invigilator put his or her hand inside my pant or touch my private part while searching my body?
ANS: No. The law sees that as indecent.

12. QST: Are there times I can be searched by the opposite sex?
ANS: Yes, where there’s an urgent need to search you and it is impracticable for a person of your gender to conduct the search.

13. QST: Can Law Enforcement Agents subject me to Medical Examinations?
ANS: Yes, especially when the offence is drug-related.

14. QST: Can I request to see the hands of a police officer before he or she searches me?
ANS: Yes. Although, this is not a legal requirement.

This Series is brought to you by the NYSC LEGAL AID CDS Group, CALABAR.
It’s sponsored by Daniel Kip, Esq. You may Contact the NYSC Legal Aid CDS Group through Austin-Vicker @+2348130459235

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