Trespass to Property

Officers of a Police Constabulary have the power to enter and search a property in certain circumstances, such as having a warrant issued authorising them to enter the property or under section 17 of PACE.  However, the police must have the authority to enter and/or search a person’s home and they must do so by following the correct procedure.

If they enter without any such authority or do not follow the correct procedure when doing so, then the entry will be unlawful and the occupier will be entitled to claim compensation for trespass to their property.

Case Study

We successfully pursued a claim against the police after officers forced entry into our client’s home. When they arrived at the property they told our client to open the door. Our client asked whether they had a warrant and they confirmed that they did not and that they did not need one. Our client asked on what basis they were seeking to enter his property and they confirmed that they did not need to tell him. He therefore, refused to open the door and as a result, the officers forced entry and arrested our client.

The forced entry to the property was made under the authority of section 17 of PACE. When exercising a power of entry by force under this section, the officers are required to inform the occupant of any premises the reason why they need to enter the property. This comes from the Court of Appeal Case of O’Loughlin v Chief Constable of Essex 1997. Thankfully, our client was able to prove that the officers failed to inform him of the real reason why they wished to gain entry, by having in place, a CCTV camera outside his property.

We brought a claim for trespass to property, false imprisonment and assault. The case settled out of court for the sum of £5,000.

If you feel that the police have entered your property either without the appropriate authority or you feel they have not followed the correct procedure then please contact a member of our Police Actions team on 0151 933 3333 or email us at

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