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Control measure

Powers of entry to investigate

Control measure knowledge

It is important that personnel are aware of the powers available to them to support their role in the investigative process.

UK legislation affords authorised firefighters the power to enter premises for investigating the cause and development of a fire and, where necessary, to seize and remove material.

Where fire and rescue services are requested to aid police investigating a fire scene, there should be clear local guidance and procedures for arrangements regarding powers of entry.

The police will investigate fires believed to be suspicious or deliberate. Identifying the cause of the fire will usually be a necessary and important part of their investigation but their primary aim is to identify those responsible for the offence(s).

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Provide policy, guidance, equipment and training to support the use of powers of entry to investigate a fire

  • Establish memorandums of understanding with external agencies to support joint working during investigation

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Provide appropriate notice to gain access to investigate a fire scene

  • Consider the use powers of entry detailed in the Fire Service Act 2004 (England and Wales) Fire (Scotland) Act 2005, or The Fire and Rescue Services (Northern Ireland) order 2006 to investigate a fire scene