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If you are stopped by police and searched you have certain rights that must be respected. Read your rights below.

Stop and Search

A police officer can stop and question people. They might ask:

  • Your name
  • What you’re doing
  • Where you’re going

You don’t have to stop or answer any questions. But your co-operation can assist the police in their duties.

A police officer has powers to stop and search you if they have ‘reasonable grounds’ to suspect you’re carrying:

  • A weapon
  • Stolen property
  • Something which could be used to commit a crime, such as a crowbar
  • Illegal drugs

Police officers sometimes have the power to stop and search without reasonable grounds if a ‘Section 60’ has been approved by a senior police officer if it is suspected that:

  • Serious violence could take place
  • You’re carrying a weapon or have used one
  • You’re in a specific location or area

Section 60s cover a specific location for a specific time. For further information see the links at the end of this leaflet.

S E A R C H

Being stopped and searched by police can be a very uncomfortable situation but it is important to stay calm and in control.

STAY CALM – It is important that you stay calm and listen to the information the officer is giving you.

EYE CONTACT – Keeping eye contact allows the officer to see you are willing to engage, are focused and paying attention

ASK QUESTIONS – You can ask any question related to the search, it’s important that you and the officer treat it as a conversation.

REFERENCE NUMBER – This is your proof of the search and reasons of the search. If you do not get one take note of the officer’s badge number for future reference.

CONTROL/CONFIDENCE – It is important to stay in control and focused during the search. Have confidence but not arrogance, police officers have a difficult job to do.

HOLD TO ACCOUNT – You should be treated fairly and with respect. For more information on holding to account see the links at the end of this leaflet.

GO WISELY

An officer must explain or provide:

GROUNDS FOR SEARCH – Why the officer has stopped YOU

OBJECT OF SEARCH – What the officer thinks they will find on you

WARRANT CARD – If an officer isn’t in uniform but is on duty, they must produce their warrant card before they search you

IDENTITY OF OFFICER – You should always be given the name or ID number of the officer

STATION OF THE OFFICER – You should always be given the name of station of the officer searching you

ENTITLEMENT – If you are searched, but not arrested, you have the right to file a complaint. You do not need a reference number but take note of the officer’s badge number and time of the search – this will help your search to be found quicker