We are frequently asked to comment when it comes to enforcement officers trying to come onto private property.  Most enforcement officers completely disregard the rights of the private citizen when investigating complaints of planning irregularity. 


They are so consumed with catching you out, they will stoop to any tactic to deceive you into thinking they are totally empowered and that you are powerless to prevent the intrusion.  That is of course nonsense.  Nevertheless, almost everyone is caught off guard and lets the very person in, who will later write up a damning statement (probably also adding false information) which will hang you in a Court of law.  We know of cases where planning and enforcement officers have fabricated photographic evidence and solicited complaints, where none existed.  



Council officers at your door are not your friends



Planning officers will seek to harass, intimidate you, cajole or otherwise obtain information without going through the proper procedures.  These same officers know you will do or say almost anything to get rid of the uninvited intrusion.  There is no difference between officers using such tactics in your own house and the Police obtaining evidence without cautioning you or obtaining a warrant.


Basically, enforcement officers are not nice people.  If they were, they would explain your rights up front, make proper appointments and carry the complete case file for you to see on demand.  The reason they don't do this is that most cases are trumped up favours for neighbours or friends.  If you saw the file, you or any competent lawyer would be able to unravel their case due to procedural or other impropriety. You may even be able to counterclaim or seek a judicial review.


In the United States of America, a famous case set a precedent to once and for all give the man in the street, back his rights - Miranda v Arizona 1966.  In England, we have similar rights, however, these rights are contained in Statute widely spread, such that the man in the street, will not know about them.  


The following statute is some example of your rights:-


  • Section 196 of the T& C Planning Act  - here you have the right to demand an officers authorisation.

  • Article 6 of the Human Rights Act this boosts your rights, requiring detail.  Hence you have the right to know how the authorisation came about, who authorised the action and on what information.  I.e. what were the committee shown.

  • Police & Criminal Evidence Act Where your rights are affected, you should be cautioned and where you request it, the charges against you should be fully explained.

  • Human Rights Act A council is under a duty to protect the rights of the citizen.  This extends itself to include the rights of a person under investigation.  Hence, in concert with the above, an enforcement officer challenged as to his or her right of entry, should then explain to the private citizen what his or her rights are.


Concerning the Police & Criminal Evidence Act, if you suspect council officers are doing a favour for a neighbour, that is of course a misuse of public office. Accordingly, you should caution the officers and take (preferably record - video or audio) down anything they say.  Why not ask them if they are doing a favour for a neighbour?  You should then report the incident to the Police over the telephone to obtain an incident number, then confirm your suspicions in writing as a formal complaint.





Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966)


Before a law enforcement officer may question you regarding the possible commission of a crime, he or she must read you your Miranda Rights. He or She must also make sure that you understand them.



1. You have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions. Do you understand?
2. Anything you do say may be used against you in a court of law. Do you understand?
3. You have the right to consult an attorney before speaking to the police and to have an attorney present during questioning now or in the future. Do you understand?
4. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you before any questioning if you wish. Do you understand?
5. If you decide to answer questions now without an attorney present you will still have the right to stop answering at any time until you talk to an attorney. Do you understand?
6. Knowing and understanding your rights as I have explained them to you, are you willing to answer my questions without an attorney present?

As the Public Defender for the Twentieth Judicial Circuit it is my advice to you that, in the event you are ever put into the situation to have a law enforcement officer read you your rights, you immediately inform him or her that you do not wish to speak to them, or make a statement, without an attorney present. By law, at that request, they are not allowed to question you any further.




Public Defender, 20th Judicial Circuit


"I Demand MY Rights"


I DEMAND TO HAVE and Attorney present before I speak to you


I WILL NOT TALK to you or anyone about anything.


I WILL NOT ANSWER any questions or reply to any charges without my Attorney present.


I DO NOT AGREE to perform any test, allow my property to be searched or participate in any lineup.


I WILL NOT SIGN anything unless my attorney agrees I should do so.


I WILL NOT WAIVE and of my constitutional rights.


[ Either let me go or return me to my cell NOW!]





With thanks to Action Groups across the country for the supply of real case history and supporting documents.  *THAT THE PUBLIC MAY KNOW*



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