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Modules:Stop and search
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Transparent

Stop and search

Police use of stop and search powers must be transparent and accountable. Why does transparent matter? Transparency may be crucial to public trust and confidence in the use of stop and search powers by making it possible for the public to: see how and why stop and search powers are used assess what impact it […]

Legal basis

Stop and search

Each stop and search encounter must have a basis in law. The officer carrying out the stop and search must only do so using one of the powers provided for in legislation and it must be the right power in the particular circumstances. The most widely used powers require the officer to have reasonable grounds […]

Stop and search index

Stop and search 1 What do we mean by stop and search? 2 When is stop and search used? 3 Why does it matter how the police use stop and search? 3.1 Value of using the powers appropriately 3.2 Potential consequences of using the powers incorrectly 4 What is fair and effective stop and search? […]

The evidence base: references and footnotes

Stop and search

The advice in this authorised professional practice is developed from the applicable law (in particular Code A), the Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) and Equality and Human Rights Commission reports on the use of stop and search, and police professional expertise. It […]

Quick reference guide: legal basis

Stop and search

    Stop and search powers requiring reasonable grounds for suspicion Do you have reasonable grounds for suspicion under one of those powers which requires them, eg, section 1 of PACE or section 23 of the MDA? Do you genuinely suspect that the person is carrying the item and that you will find it if […]

Quick reference guide - senior officers

Stop and search

The primary purpose of stop and search powers is to enable officers to allay or confirm suspicions about individuals without exercising their power of arrest (Code A paragraph 1.4). A stop and search where no illegal item is found may still be a legitimate outcome if it is conducted in a fair, lawful, professional and […]

Legal application

Stop and search

Whichever stop and search power is being used, it must be exercised in a way which is compatible with the enabling legislation, the applicable code of practice (Code A in most cases) and with human rights law. This includes ensuring that the extent of the search is limited to what is necessary and proportionate in […]

Stop and search

Definition of a fair and effective stop and search encounter, how and why stop and search encounters should be fair, legal, professional and transparent.

Last modified: July 2020

Quick access tools

Stop and search

Frontline Quick reference guides for the frontline summarising the more detailed content in a user friendly format: Quick reference guide: fair Quick reference guides: legal Quick reference guide: professional Quick reference guide: transparent Supervisors and senior officers Quick reference guides summarising supervisor and senior officer responsibilities: Quick reference guide: supervisors Quick reference guide: senior officers Supervisors and […]

Quick reference guide - supervisors

Stop and search

The primary purpose of stop and search powers is to enable officers to allay or confirm suspicions about individuals without exercising their power of arrest (Code A paragraph 1.4). A stop and search where no illegal item is found may still be a legitimate outcome if it is conducted in a fair, lawful, professional and […]