February 18th, 2012

Obtaining A Search Warrant In London

Setting: Contemporary London

Sorry to bother you again. I have a question about search warrants. I have a cop who's just heard about a Very Big Crime, and he needs to go to the scene and pick up some evidence (the crooks themselves have vanished into the city; the evidence will help locate them). As far as I understand UK law, he needs a search warrant to do this. Various UK government and law websites tell me that search warrants are issued by Justices of the Peace, and that their courts operate on weekday afternoons.

The problem is that the cop learns of this crime on a Saturday night, and he needs to get a warrant for that search ASAP, so that the crooks don't come back and clear the place out before business hours on Monday. Is there an emergency night court he can prevail upon to get the warrant? Can he call up the nearest Justice of the Peace at two in the morning and get a warrant? Does he even need a formal warrant to do this? I know that the US has an "imminent destruction of evidence" exception to the warrant requirement; does the UK have something similar?

Can he even do this search, or does he need to find and arrest the crooks first?

Thank you in advance!

Job title confusion

I've scoured the archives of this community, and tried Google and Wiki with no luck.

In some books I've read, there was a servant position in the 1700s onward called an 'abigail'. I know it's a female maidservant for women of status, however I cannot find a full description or origin of the word.

As far as I've been able to figure out: The position existed in Europe, and it seemed to be a position that only women required. The problem is that now 'Abigail' is a name, so most searches on Wiki and Google give me the names of various people named Abigail and the fun adventures they had.

If anyone can offer help, I would be most appreciative. Having this question rattle around in my head is driving me batty.