Searching Pupils for Drugs or Stolen Articles

If efforts to persuade a pupil to hand over a suspected illegal substance, stolen property etc have failed, and the school wishes to proceed on formal lines, then the Police should be called to undertake the search. Schools may not detain a person without their consent for the purpose of a search for drugs or stolen goods. Police officers however, may undertake limited personal searches on school premises or detain those suspected for the purposes of doing so.

School property, e.g. lockers or desks; may be searched by school staff, although prior permission should be sought. Schools will need to balance the likelihood that an offence has been committed against the risk of infringing the individual’s privacy without just cause.

Please Note*. Where no arrest has taken place, a police officer may search individual children, where reasonable suspicion exists, for drugs or stolen property, In order to search “personal school lockers‟ the permission of the head teacher or an authorised person must be obtained. If consent is withheld, an officer may apply to a Magistrates Court for a search warrant to enter the school and conduct the search.