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Here are some Q&As about Stop and Searches that you may find useful!


Q. What is a Stop and Search?

A. A Stop and Search is when a Police Officer stops a member of the public and Searches them. The Police can only detain members of the public in order to carry out a Search when certain conditions are met.

Q. What could I be Stopped and Searched for?

A. Search powers fall under different areas of legislation which include searching for:

Stolen Property

Prohibited articles (Offensive Weapons, anything used for burglary, theft deception or criminal damage)



Q. What can be searched?

A. If you are in a public place, only your outer clothing can be searched:







The only thing the Police Officer should require you to take off, is:


Outer Garments


Q. Can an Officer from the opposite Sex Stop and Search me?

A. Yes. An Officer of any Sex may Stop and Search you, providing the search is in a public place and is restricted to outer garments.

Q. Will the Police Officer ask me any questions about myself?

A. Yes. An Officer may ask:

What you are up to

Your Name

Your Address

Your Date of Birth

Q. Will the Police Officer tell me why I’m being Searched?

A. During a Stop and Search, the Police Officer must give/show you:

Grounds for Search

Object/purpose of Search

Warrant Card (If in plain clothes)

Identity of Officer

Station to which they are attached

Entitlement to a copy of Search Record

Legal Power Used

You are being detained for the power of a Search

Police must have reasonable grounds for a Stop and Search. These may be:

Suspicion that you may have stolen or prohibited articles with you

Intelligence (Information) about a crime

They cannot stop you simply based on:




Your Appearance or what you are wearing


Criminal Record

Q. Will I get a record of my Search?

A. When a Police Officer conducts a Search, a written record must be made available and you should receive a copy. Normally this is given at the time unless it is not practicable.

You must be told that you are entitled to a record of the search and at which Police Station you can obtain it, if it is not given to you there and then. You can apply for this up to three months after the search has taken place


Q. Will my Search be recorded on video?

A. Body Worn Cameras are being rolled out across all 32 London Boroughs. Video footage is only retained for 30 days unless it is required for investigative, complaints or other Police purposes.

Q. Are there any other types of Stops?

A. Yes.

Stop and Account

A Police Officer or Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) can stop you and request a person in a public place account for their:



Presence in an area

Possesion of anything

Vehicle Search

An officer does not need a reason to stop a person driving, or attempting to drive, for a routine check. They can ask you to provide:


Date of Birth

Driving Licence

Insurance Certificate

MOT Certificate

Vehicles can be searched where there is reasonable suspicion that the vehicle is carrying a person who has committed or is about to commit an offence


If you do any of the following, you may be stopped:

Riding Carelessly

Ignoring the traffic signs or traffic lights

Riding without the correct lighting

Riding on the pavement

If the Police Officer suspects a separate criminal offence, they may conduct a Stop and Search

Section 60

Section 60 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994:

Where an authorising Officer reasonably believes that serious violence may take place or that persons are carrying dangerous instruments or offensive weapons without good reason, they may authorise powers for Officers in uniform to Stop and Search any person or vehicle within a defined area and time period.

Q. If I want to make a complaint about my Stop and Search, what can I do?

A. If for any reason you feel you may have been treated unfairly or have any other complaints about a Stop and Search, see below for the different ways in which you can do so:

Go to any Police Station and ask to see the Duty On-Call Officer

Dial 101 and make a complaint over the phone

Go to the Metropolitan Police Complaints Website http://secure.met.police.uk/complaints/

Contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau, a Solicitor, MP or your local Stop and Search Community Monitoring Group

Q. What is a Stop and Search Community Monitoring Group?

A. A Community Monitoring Group are local independent members of the community who monitor the Police’s use of Stop and Search. All 32 Boroughs in London should have their own CMG.

The role of these groups is to hold the Police to account and scrutinise the use of Stop and Search. They accompany Police and observe how they carry out their work, including Stop and Search.

You can see records of the Stop and Search performance of all 32 London Police Boroughs online.

For further information about Stop and Searches, please feel free to email us, and we will get in contact with the relevant department.

*The Data that has been used here was provided by MOPAC which is available on their website.