A police raid is a law enforcement action on a home or business suspected of involvement in criminal activity. Police will select an unusual time of day, and rely on the element of surprise to collect evidence and arrest suspects before people have a chance to conceal or destroy materials of interest. The law about police raids varies between nations. In some countries, police must apply for a warrant, and in others, they may be allowed to take action without one.
Dawn or the period shortly before dawn is a popular time for a police raid on a home, as the people in the home may be asleep or just waking up, and are likely to be disoriented and more compliant. Police can also raid homes in the middle of the night to startle people. With businesses, law enforcement may monitor the business to determine the best time to take action. Often, the raid involves cooperation between police and other law enforcement organizations.
Police usually must take precautions to protect health and safety when they conduct a police raid. This can start with cordoning off the area to keep bystanders out, and approaching the door to ask people to surrender to police before taking more aggressive action like using flash bang grenades to temporarily incapacitate people. The police need to quickly secure the area once they enter to protect their safety, as well as that of the surrounding community.
In a police raid, law enforcement officers commonly collect substantial evidence from the site. The warrant can include a specific mandate to collect particular things like computer hard drives, and police may interpret the warrant as liberally as possible so they can collect anything that may be related to criminal activity. The police can have warrants for the arrest of some of the people in the building, and also have the power to arrest people who interfere with the raid in some way. Vehicles to safely transport evidence and suspects are a necessary part of the raid.
Police raids can be controversial in nature. If people are injured or killed, complaints of police brutality are common. Some people suspect police are more likely to raid particular populations, like people of color or people known for political activism, and argue that a police raid can be an intimidation tactic. Having a clear mechanism for requesting warrants and handling the raid can help to address these public concerns by making sure the police use standard procedure at all times.