What is stop and search? Watch our video to find out.
What is stop and search?
An officer can stop and search you if they have a
genuine suspicion in their mind that items that could be used
to commit crime or are evidence of an offence (such as stolen
property or weapons) will be found on you. Their suspicion must
seem reasonable to an independent observer.
Being stopped and searched doesn’t mean you’re under
arrest or have necessarily done anything wrong. It doesn’t mean you
will have a criminal record.
They must be able to explain what information or
behaviour has caused them to be suspicious and stop and search
A fair and effective stop and
- The search is justified, lawful and stands up to public
- The officer has genuine and objectively reasonable suspicion
they will find a prohibited article or item for use in crime
- You understand why you have been searched and feel you have
been treated with respect
- The search was necessary and was the most proportionate method
the police officer could use to establish whether you have such an
You can find out more information on the definition of a fair
and effective stop and search encounter by visiting the College
of Policing website.
If you are stopped and searched, you should be
- Why you are being stopped and/or
- The officer’s name and the station
they are based at
- What power they have used to stop
- You should be treated in a professional manner,
with dignity and respect.
If an officer needs to remove more than your jacket,
outer coat or gloves, footwear or headgear, you will be taken
somewhere out of public view. This could include a police vehicle
or police station and, if the search involves the removal of more
than footwear or headgear it will be done in the presence of an
officer who is the same sex as you.
You don’t have to give the officer your personal
details even if they ask for them. You will be offered a
record of the search.
An officer needs reasonable grounds to stop
and search you. They should genuinely suspect you have an item in
your possession. The grounds for the search and the object of the
search must be explained to you fully.
You should not be stopped because of your age,
race, ethnicity, nationality, faith, gender, sexual orientation,
disability, the language you speak or because you have committed
Feedback and advice
You should be treated in a professional manner, with dignity and
respect. If you are unhappy with the way you’ve been treated please
contact us on 0800
40 50 40 or email email@example.com
Working with others
We recognise it is important to involve the community in
monitoring our use of stop and search powers. We hold regular
public consultation meetings that allow attendees to review our
stop searches from across the nation, providing input, guidance and
recommendations from a public perspective. To find out more about
this process or if you would like to attend our public consultation
meetings, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Deputy Chief Constable Adrian Hanstock, who is the National
Police Chief’s council strategic lead on stop and
search, chairs regular meetings with senior officers from
other police forces focusing on stop and search. Best practice and
lessons learned are shared to ensure our service is
Police Patrol Observation Scheme
Our Police Patrol Observation Scheme provides
you with the opportunity to follow police officers for a single
shift. It is open to applicants aged 16 and above. Whether you are
thinking about a job working with the police or you have a general
interest in the day to day work that we do, the Police Patrol
Observation Scheme is an excellent way to find out. To find
out more please contact us at BTP-Volunteers@btp.pnn.police.uk.
Before being offered a Patrol Observation, applicants will
undergo a number of checks. Having an offence on record will not
automatically exclude you from taking part - each applicant will be
treated on a case by case basis. If you are successful, you will be
contacted by a member of staff from one of the teams who will
arrange the observation with you.
All Patrol Observation experiences are risk-assessed to ensure
that your personal safety is not compromised.
Stop and Account
A Stop and Account is when a police officer or PCSO stops you
and asks you to account for your:
- Presence in an area
- Possession of an item
Officers have no power to detain you in order to conduct a Stop
and Account and are expected to make a record of all Stop and
Accounts in their pocket notebook.
Our officers working with the Metropolitan Police area are
required to record Stop and Accounts on the force intelligence
system. This was ratified by our Independent Community Advisors who
want to be able to monitor who was getting stopped by the
police. Outside of London our Community Groups had no such