The use of stop and search powers allow the police to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour, and to prevent more serious crimes occurring. It is one of many powers used by the police to maintain order and keep people safe. Stop and search generally happens in public places.
The police have the legal right to stop and search members of the public for a variety of reasons and using a number of powers. The main powers used require the officer to have genuine and objectively reasonable suspicion that they will find a prohibited article or item for use in crime.
A police officer can only search you if he or she suspects you are carrying:
- stolen property
- items that could be used to commit crime or to cause criminal damage
- certain types of fireworks
- evidence of game and wildlife offences
- alcohol at or en route to a designated sporting event
- articles connected with terrorism
- psychoactive substances
Other powers exist where an authorisation is required by a senior officer in relation to anticipated serious violence or terrorism. These powers are used less frequently as officers do not have to have reasonable suspicion about the individual being stopped and searched.
The use of stop and search powers by the police is regulated by legislation and codes of practice. We recognise that the use of this power, if not used properly, can cause concern amongst communities. We appreciate that searching somebody can be invasive and these are powers that need to be used appropriately and sensitively. We are committed to being completely transparent in how, when and where we use these powers and what the outcomes of searches are. The information below shows how we are committed to this.
Click here for information on the Home Office's 2014 consultation on Stop Search.
Stop Search Record Request
If you have been stop searched and require a copy of the record of the search please contact us by filling in this form or ringing 101.
Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme
The voluntary Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme was introduced by the Home Secretary in 2014. The principal aims of the scheme are to achieve greater transparency, community involvement in the use of stop and search powers and to support a more intelligence led approach leading to better outcomes, for example, an increase in the stop and search to positive outcome ratio.
Data recording - we will record the broader range of stop and search outcomes e.g. arrests, cautions, penalty notices for disorder and all other disposal types. We will also show the link, or lack of one, between the object of the search and its outcome.
Lay observation policies - we are providing opportunities for members of the local community to accompany police officers on patrol and will be introducing, through body worn video, the ability to be transparent in our interactions. Find out more about our Lay Observer Policy or "Ride Along" scheme.
Stop and search complaints - we have a complaints policy in which we will scrutinise all stop and search encounters. All complaints and concerns will be referred to our external scrutiny panel. For details on how to complain see below.
Reducing section 60 - 'no-suspicion' stop and searches - we meet all requirements set out in the scheme.
We are fully compliant with all requirements of the Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme and will carry on taking positive actions to ensure that this continues.
We scrutinise our use of Stop and Search by a variety of methods. One of these is a publicly held Stop and Search Scrutiny Panel which reviews stop searches, monitors adherence to policy and procedures and compliance and makes recommendations for any remedial action required.
The panel meets at The Race Equality Centre (TREC) in Leicester. Meetings take place at 6pm on the second Thursday of every other month.
To find out when the next meeting is please visit the events section of our website.
Your feedback is important to us. If you have had a positive or a negative experience, in order to help us improve our service please visit our Rate Your Local Police website where you can let us know about the service you have received.
You should be treated fairly, politely and with respect at all times and given an explanation for the stop search or stop. However, if you are unhappy with the way you have been treated, please try to stay calm and cooperate with the officer(s). You can complain.
It will help if you keep the copy of the search record (or receipt) and the officer(s) name or identification number.
You can get advice from, or complain:
- On our website by visiting How To Complain
- By phone on 101
- To the Citizens Advice Bureau www.adviceguide.org.uk
- To The Race Equality Centre, 0116 999 800 www.theraceequalitycentre.org.uk
- To a solicitor
- To the Independent Police Complaints Commission www.ipcc.gov.uk
You can apply for consideration for compensation if your vehicle has been searched and during the search damaged. We would advise you to take a photograph of any damage.
You can apply for compensation by filling out our form