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Police Stop and Search

Stop and search is used by Police in order to try and prevent crime and anti-social behaviour. If you are stopped and searched by contact usthe Police, you have certain rights that must be upheld during the process. The Police have a strict set of guidelines detailing when and how they can carry out a stop and search.

Here at J R Jones solicitors we are experts in Criminal Defence and can advise you on any matters involving the Police and stop and search.

A Police officer doesn’t always have to be in uniform when they stop you, but if they’re not wearing uniform they must show you their warrant card. A Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) must always be in uniform when they stop and question you.

Police powers: Stop and Question

A Police officer has powers to stop you at any time and ask you:

  1. Why you’re in an area and/or where you’re going
  2. What you’re doing

However, you don’t have to answer any questions the Police officer asks you.

Police powers: Stop and Search

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

  1. A weapon
  2. Illegal drugs
  3. Stolen property
  4. Something which could be used to commit a crime, eg a crowbar

You can only be stopped and searched without reasonable grounds if it has been approved by a senior police officer. This can happen if it is suspected that:

  1. You’re carrying a weapon or have used one
  2. Serious violence could take place
  3. You’re in a specific location or area

Before you’re searched

Before you’re searched the police officer must tell you:

  1. Their name and police station
  2. Why they are legally allowed to search you
  3. What they expect to find, eg drugs
  4. The reason they want to search you, eg it looks like you’re hiding something
  5. That you can have a record of the search and if this isn’t possible at the time, how you can get a copy

Police powers: Removing clothing

A Police officer can ask you to take off your coat, contact usjacket or gloves.

The Police might ask you to take off other clothes and anything you’re wearing for religious reasons - eg a veil or turban. If they do, they must take you somewhere out of public view.

If the officer wants to remove more than a jacket and gloves they must be the same sex as you.

Stop and Search: What are my rights?

  1. The Officer must carry out the search as quickly as possible.
  2. The search must take place near where you are stopped.
  3. You do not have to give the Police Officer your name and address in a Stop and Search. Declining to provide this information is not a valid reason for arrest.
  4. If the Officer asks you to remove more than your coat and gloves, or anything you wear for religious reasons, they must take you somewhere out of public view.
  5. You should not be stopped or searched just because of your age, race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion, the way you dress or because you’ve committed a crime in the past.
  6. If English is not your first language Police Officers must take reasonable steps to explain why you have been stopped in your first language.

Can I refuse to co-operate with a stop and search?

If you refuse to stop, the police can use reasonable force to stop you so they can conduct a search.

If you need advice regarding any criminal related matter, please contact us for advice.