Stop and search powers allow the police to combat street crime, anti-social behaviour, and prevent more serious crimes. Stop and Search can help the police detect crime and make our communities safer.
What is a ‘stop’?
A ‘stop’ (or stop and account) is when a police officer or police community support officer stops you and asks you to account for yourself. That is, if they ask you to tell them:
- what you are doing;
- why you are in an area or where you are going; or
- what you are carrying.
A police community support officer must be in uniform, but a police officer does not have to be.
The officer does not need to make a record of this encounter.
Not every time a police officer or police community support officer talks to you will count as a stop. For example, if the officer
- is looking for witnesses;
- asks you for general information about an incident; or
- is giving you directions.
What is a ‘stop and search’?
An officer can stop and talk to you at any time. But should only search you if they suspect you are carrying:
- stolen property; or
- tools which could be used to commit a crime.