If the police are investigating a cyber-crime, and all they have is the IP address and they obtain the details from the ISP, how quickly will they usually obtain a search warrant in order to preserve evidence?

  • It will take forever: a warrant will never be issued just because the police have an IP address and some information from an ISP. At the bare minimum, there has to be cause to believe that a crime was committed having some relation to this IP address. You need to fill in details. Then, are you asking "what is the mean time over the past 5 years for getting a warrant", specifically regarding cybercrimes? – user6726 Jul 17 '20 at 19:20
  • If they have complaints of what’s been done, and obtained the information from the company that runs the website, then would they act quickly to preserve evidence to obtain devices? – Starstruck124 Jul 17 '20 at 19:25
  • As far as the law is concerned, it can be virtually instantaneous. A judge has to receive, read, and evaluate the request. If the judge has 1,000 requests ahead of this one, there could be a practical problem. If the judge somehow knows that this is an urgent case, without having to read the request, he can change the order of requests. Are you looking for real numbers about how often this happens? – user6726 Jul 17 '20 at 20:15

It depends on the nature of the crime, among other things.

Under Section 8 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) the police must provide evidence to a court that a search warrant is necessary to secure and obtain evidence relevant to an ongoing investigation into a crime. If there is evidence that time is of the essence with regards to the evidence at stake (e.g. there is a high probability that the evidence will be destroyed unless it is secured immediately) then the search warrant will be expedited.

Once the search warrant has been secured, it will be an operational matter for the police to decide when and how to act on it. They could choose to do a dawn raid, for example, or they could monitor the suspect for a week and then search the property when the suspect is out.

Be aware that under Section 18 of PACE, a search warrant is not necessarily required. The police may, in the course of arresting someone for an indictable offence, search the premises without a warrant provided certain criteria are met. Of course, this is predicated on the police having grounds for arrest, and in the vast majority of cases, a search warrant will be obtained.

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