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.
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