Police Powers of Search and Seizure


The basic principle under the Constitution of Kenya, Article 31, is that every person has a right to privacy and to not have their person, home or property searched, their possessions seized, information relating to their family or private affairs unnecessarily required or revealed or the privacy of their communications infringed.

However, there are certain lawful circumstances under which this right to privacy can be limited as reflected in Article 24 of the Constitution. The limitation can only be effected or permitted through the passage of law and it must be such as is reasonable and justifiable in an open and democratic society. It must also take into account certain relevant factors such as the need to ensure that the enjoyment of rights and fundamental freedoms by any individual do not prejudice the rights and fundamental freedoms of others and the importance of the purpose of the limitation as well as its nature and extent.

Accordingly, for the police to violate a person’s privacy, they must act pursuant to an existing and valid law, they must prove that these special circumstances exist and they must strictly follow the procedures prescribed under those laws for their acts or actions to be upheld or protected. Continue reading “Police Powers of Search and Seizure”