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Stop and Search Powers

Stop and Search Powers

SKU: 6.84
  • Advice

    Law enforcement in the UK is organized separately in each of the legal systems in the country (England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland). Most of the police officers serve in regional police services (territorial police forces). These in turn are supported by the National Crime Agency.


    The police have certain responsibilities towards the public:

    • enforcing laws;
    • preventing crime;
    • maintaining public order;
    • responding to emergencies; and
    • protecting life and property.


    Broadly speaking, the Police represent the civil authority of the government. As well as duties, police officers have also certain rights that help them in exercising their function.


    Stop and search powers

    A police officer might stop you and ask what your name is, what you’re doing in the area and where you are going. You don’t have to stop or answer any questions. If you don’t and there is no other reason to suspect you, then this alone cannot be used as a reason to search or arrest you, there are, unsurprisingly reasons that police can use to deny this right. If they believe (or believe that they could get away with stating that they had) ‘reasonable grounds to suspect you are carrying either illegal drugs, a weapon, stolen property or something which could be used to commit a crime` (such as walking around carrying screwdrivers and a crowbar).


    Technically the search should have been approved by a senior police officer (there is always the potential for the officer to persuade their senior officer to backdate such permission) and should only happen where serious violence could take place, you’re carrying a weapon (or have used one), or you are in a specific location or area. As you can see these are virtually catch-all scenarios that allow the police to use their omnipotence to stop and search pretty much anyone they want.


    Before you are searched you can ask the officer the following questions, to which they have to give a truthful answer: -

    • Their name and police station
    • What they expect to find, for example, drugs
    • The reason they want to search you, for example, is if it looks like you’re hiding something
    • Why they are legally allowed to search you; and
    • That they will provide a written record of the search (if this is not possible at the time then they would inform you how to get a copy)


    If you are searched and the officer refused to give you this information then we would argue that the search was carried out improperly, and potentially illegally. There is no obligation to answer officers’ questions, this will frustrate officers who are usually after a speedy admission of guilt to impress their superiors. They may well tell you that things would be a lot easier if you co-operate, in this they are correct, it would be a lot easier – for them.


    How we can help

    Your designated caseworker will collate information for our legal team to assess your case under the European Court of Human Rights statutes as well as the Police governance legislature, their investigation will guide you in your subsequent instructions. If items were found during a search that we can confirm was not done to set procedure then we can seek to have it declared an illegal search, and any resultant items found to be struck from their reports. To gain our assistance you need to open a case, this is done by taking advantage of our free consultation service, activated by the link at the top of the page, should you wish to start a case the caseworker will send you the suitable payment link.


    Please note your caseworker can only give generic advice, their role is to prepare your details for handling by our legal team and to act as your point of contact, they will also issue you with your Password and PIN, these will be needed to log onto your client dashboard. From your dashboard you will be able to manage and view every aspect of your case, upload documents, images, files etc.

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free initial consultation:

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