Stop and search (police powers)

The police and criminal evidence act 1984 section 1 sets out the provisions for the police to carry out stop and search.

The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 Section 1 sets out the provisions for the police to carry out stop and search, it is supplemented by PACE Code A 2013.


Police officers can carry out a stop and search if they have reasonable grounds to suspect any of the following:

  • You fit the description of someone the police want to talk about a crime.

  • There has been a crime nearby and the police want to question you about it.

  • The police suspect you to be carrying stolen property or illegal drugs.

  • The police suspect you of carrying something you could commit a crime with, such as knives, firearms or other weapons.

If they stop you they must tell you their name and their police station, why they want to search you and what they may have reason to find. They must explain to the person about to be searched why they have the authority to do so and that a record of the search will be available to them and tell them how they can obtain a copy.

You may be asked to remove your gloves, jacket and coat and your bags, wallet or purse may be searched.

If it is necessary to take off more than just gloves, jacket and coat or if you need to take off any items that you wear for religious reasons, such as a face scarf, veil or turban, the police will take you somewhere out of public view for your own privacy. In this instance the search must be carried out by a police officer of the same sex as the person being searched. It does not mean that you are being arrested.


Stop-and-search: A BBC reporter's own experience - BBC News

Theresa May steps up campaign to end unfair police use of stop and search

Amber Rudd defends police stop and search powers - BBC News

Stop and search | Law | The Guardian

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