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Dawn raids are an increasing feature of corporate life and cause disruption and distress to organisations and individuals alike.
The early morning arrival of a team of investigators at an organisation’s premises with a search warrant (or equivalent) will usually be the first time that the organisation is aware it is under investigation. It may be part of a co-ordinated operation involving the search of other locations, as well as the homes of directors or senior personnel who may, at the same time, be arrested and interviewed under caution.
In the first few hours after a dawn raid, it is vital that the organisation and its employees respond in a way that, while not unnecessarily antagonising the investigators, properly preserves their legal rights.
The Serious Fraud Office, the Financial Conduct Authority, the National Crime Agency, the Competition and Markets Authority, HM Revenue & Customs and the European Commission (to name but a few) all have powers to enter premises to search for and seize material for their investigation. Issues can arise in connection with the scope of the warrant (or the use of statutory powers compelling the inspection and production of material), the seizure of computers and electronic data that might contain both relevant and irrelevant material, the treatment of material that is subject to a claim of legal professional privilege, and the questioning of staff.
BCL has extensive experience of attending dawn raids and advising at the police station when employees are arrested. Where necessary, our lawyers will attend your premises to advise on search procedures and simultaneously, if needed, other members of our team will advise those individuals arrested for interview under caution at the police station.
We respond immediately to protect our clients’ interests and to minimise business disruption. We also help with media strategy to minimise (or if possible avoid) reputational damage.
In addition to providing a reactive response, we provide proactive advice to assist organisations with putting in place dawn raid procedures, which includes training staff on how best to respond if an investigator comes calling.
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