International - Written by on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 8:00 - 0 Comments

Dawn raids, searches & media enquiries our top 5 tips and what they have in common with fires.

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The SFO’s announcement last week of it’s coordinated raids in Amsterdam, Belgium and the UK at the end of April in connection with a joint investigation into biodiesel trading serves as a reminder.

While the possibility of a search is an outlier, so is a fire.  To deal with the unlikely event of a fire, fire drills, knowing who to call and what to do, are common place.

We recommend that the possibility of a search is treated in the same way with an emphasis on the practicalities.

With this in mind we thought we’d share our top five tips and our recommendation that the unlikely events of searches and fires are treated similarly.  And.  Keep in mind that in a fire the fire warden is important.  In a raid the first contact with the police will be reception, so we strongly recommend that they know what to do as part and parcel of the preparations.



  1. Keep calm and be courteous to the attending officials. Obtain a copy of their business cards.
  2. Ask to see a copy of the search warrant. If there is no warrant, ask them to explain the legal basis for their search (it could be a post arrest search).
  3. Identify and keep separate items that are protected by Legal Professional Privilege. If officials insist on seizing those protected items, make it clear the material is privileged and, as such, they must be isolated from other material and not looked at by the investigating team.
  4. Contact external lawyers and when representation is secured, inform the officials.
  5. Do not obstruct the search.


  1. Listen to what they say and note it down.
  2. Do not comment; ask if you can get back to them.
  3. Contact a specialist PR advisor who is used to dealing with these type of requests and lawyers who can advise if other disclosure would be appropriate.
  4. Agree a reactive statement with your PR advisor and lawyers and contact the outlet who first contacted you to pass on the agreed statement.
  5. Consider appropriate next steps, for example, should the allegation be investigated?

While the chance of a dawn raid and/or search remain low, being prepared makes all the difference. Time to dust down those procedures?

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