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How to act during a search? 7 recommendations

Every year, law enforcement officers increase the number of searches, which constantly affects the business. This is evidenced by official statistics. For example, take information about Kiev. In 2014, the register of court decisions contained about 10,000 decisions on searches, and in 2019 - already 19,300 decisions, ie an increase of almost 2 times!

However, why have searches become more frequent? This is facilitated by 3 factors: simple procedure for initiating criminal proceedings, a simple procedure for obtaining a court order on a search and various sources of information for investigators.

As the risks of law enforcement visiting your business increase every year, it is important to remember the basic rules that will help minimize the negative consequences of the search.

What does the visit of law enforcement officers with a search mean?

❗ Investigators are investigating criminal proceedings. The investigator will not appear on an equal footing. A search is only possible when there is a criminal case involving your company in one way or another.

❗ Investigators have gathered evidence that a search is necessary. Initial information has already been collected in the criminal proceedings, witnesses have been interrogated, and the information required for the search from the controlling bodies and state registers has been requested.

❗ The investigator received a court order to conduct a search. The investigator had previously approached the court with the information gathered in the criminal proceedings, and the court agreed to conduct a search, giving the investigator the right to "visit" a certain address.

If you need advice or protection in a criminal case, contact us for help

Why did they come to you?

Law enforcement officers may have different sources of information, and here are some:

  • Operational units. Each law enforcement agency has its own operational units that can publicly and implicitly receive the necessary information. They have their own algorithms and capabilities.
  • Current / former employees. The offended employee can also be a source of information. We worked with cases when investigators visited precisely because of the statements of several employees.
  • Business partners / competitors. Corporate conflicts and struggles in the market can be the cause of commissioned cases.
  • Financial monitoring, controlling bodies. According to the results of the inspection, such controlling bodies as the State Labor Inspectorate, the State Coinspection, and the Tax Administration may apply to the police and initiate criminal proceedings for the identified violations. The State Financial Monitoring Service, which detects financial irregularities and sends materials to the police, has also become more active.

In fact, no. The vast majority of searches are peaceful, so there is no reason to panic. It should be remembered that the freedom of action of employees is limited only during the search. They may not have to worry about their physical safety, and in some cases it may be possible to negotiate with the investigator to continue working as usual.

But keep in mind that the average search lasts about 6 hours. It is time to inspect the office premises in an elementary way, to describe the seized things / documents. Therefore, it is necessary to be patient and closely monitor the actions of investigators and operatives.

So far, the record holder for the duration of the search is Rozetka, in the offices and warehouses of which law enforcement officers conducted a search for a month!

❗ Who can conduct a search?

As of the date of publication of the material: investigators of the police, tax, SBU, State Bureau of Investigation, prosecutors, detectives of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau. That is, investigators of 6 law enforcement agencies.

7 recommendations

  1. Tell your lawyer. Searches are always unexpected. Make sure you sign a contract with your lawyer in advance, as his or her presence prevents him from being abused by investigators and operatives. The investigator must allow the lawyer to search.
  2. Request a copy of the search warrant.The address in the decision must match your address. If the court ruling has expired, no search is conducted. Already at this stage, it is possible to legally prevent a search, only after carefully reading the court decision!
  3. Require identification. Only an investigator or prosecutor can conduct a search, it is possible to find out about the status of a person only from a certificate. In addition, if there is an abuse on the part of the participants in the search, you need to know exactly who conducted it, so that it is then possible to bring a particular person to justice.
  4. Concerning mobile phones and data carriers. They should not be in a prominent place or on the desktop. It is best to keep with you, the phone should be put into silent mode.
  5. We don't pass anything at militiamen. You do not have to tell anyone your passwords.
  6. We do not give any impressions. When asked to speak, he refused to testify. Only officially, due to the service of the summons 3 days before the date of interrogation.
  7. If the investigator wants to conduct a personal search. Require it only in the presence of a lawyer.

Following these simple tips will help you get searched with minimal risk to the team and the leader. We can also provide search preparation training for your company! 

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