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Know your rights: Stop and search

A quick guide to police stop search powers.

You will not be stopped in any way by the police just because:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Ethnic background
  • Nationality
  • Religion
  • Because you have committed a crime in the past

We can stop and search you for other reasons including:

  • If there has been serious violence or disorder in the area
  • If we are looking for  a suspect who fits your description
  • If we have reasonable grounds to suspect you're carrying a weapon, drugs or stolen property. If you are found to be carrying one of these three  things, the consequences can be very serious
  • As part of our anti-terrorism efforts.

Things you should know

  • Being stop searched does not mean you are under arrest of that you have necessarily done something wrong
  • If you are stopped by the police, you are required to stay for the duration of the search if it includes bags or other property. If necessary, you will be prevented from walking away
  • We must use our search powers fairly, responsibly and with respect for people
  • We must make sure that the search time is kept to a minimum
  • The search must take place near to where you are stopped, except where moving  you would protect your privacy
  • We do not have the power to stop you in order to find a reason for a search.
  • You are entitled to a form that outlines the reason you were searched.