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Authorised to Search My Car?

Question:

I have recently been stopped a number of times by the police and requested to exit my vehicle as they want to search it as part of what is described each time as "a routine stop".

What rights do the police have to search my vehicle without having a reasonable suspicion that there is something in my vehicle that is illegal or contraband? On each occasion my vehicle has been searched, they found nothing, but I have been delayed for half an hour while they complete searches of vehicles in the queue ahead of me.

On the last occasion I challenged the policeman who asked to search the vehicle and asked him what he was looking for and he became aggressive and threatened to arrest me for interfering with a police officer in the performance of his duty. I of course backed off.

It is my belief that these search operations are a fishing expedition that are conducted without just cause if there is no suspicion of wrong doing, and are being used by dishonest police officers as a basis for demanding bribes - as I saw happen when another motorist was found to have so called "illegal CD's" in his sound system.

Answer:

Any member of the Police Service may, without a warrant, search any vehicle and any person in or on such vehicle at a roadblock or checkpoint.

A member executing a search must, upon demand of any person whose rights are or have been affected by the search or seizure, exhibit to him or her a copy of the written authorisation by the Commissioner of Police. If you do not want your vehicle to be searched you can insist that the police get a search warrant in order to search your vehicle.

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