Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 No 103
32 Preservation of privacy and dignity during search
(1) A police officer who searches a person must, as far as is reasonably practicable in the circumstances, comply with this section.(2) The police officer must inform the person to be searched of the following matters—(a) whether the person will be required to remove clothing during the search,(b) why it is necessary to remove the clothing.(3) The police officer must ask for the person’s co-operation.(4) The police officer must conduct the search—(a) in a way that provides reasonable privacy for the person searched, and(b) as quickly as is reasonably practicable.(5) The police officer must conduct the least invasive kind of search practicable in the circumstances.(6) The police officer must not search the genital area of the person searched, or in the case of female or a transgender person who identifies as a female, the person’s breasts unless the police officer suspects on reasonable grounds that it is necessary to do so for the purposes of the search.(7) A search must be conducted by a police officer of the same sex as the person searched.(7A) However, if a police officer of the same sex as the person who is to be searched is not immediately available, a police officer may delegate the power to conduct the search to another person who is—(a) of the same sex as the person to be searched, and(b) of a class of persons prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this subsection.The search by that other person is to be conducted under the direction of the police officer and in accordance with provisions of this Act applying to searches conducted by police officers.(8) A search of a person must not be carried out while the person is being questioned. If questioning has not been completed before a search is carried out, it must be suspended while the search is carried out.(8A) Subsection (8) does not prevent the asking of questions that only relate to issues of personal safety associated with the search.(9) A person must be allowed to dress as soon as a search is finished.(10) If clothing is seized because of the search, the police officer must ensure the person searched is left with or given reasonably appropriate clothing.(11) In this section—questioning of a person means questioning the person, or carrying out an investigation (in which the person participates).