Stop and search: know your rights

With alarming frequency police officers and CSOs are unlawfully stopping innocent children in public places and searching them without reasonable suspicion of any offences being committed. They are rarely given the required information required of a stop and search to be performed in a public place and are frequently sworn at by these uniformed officials. They then are moved on and treated appallingly by officers who have no legal powers to perform either the search or the intimidation. They receive no record of the procedure - which is a legal requirement - and the police refuse to give these children the details required by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE).

This is what should happen if either the police or a Community Support Officer stops and searches you.

The police officer must normally tell you:

  • what law they are stopping you under, and your rights;
  • their name;
  • the station they work at;
  • why they had reason to believe you in particular might be in contravention of the law they are stopping you under;
  • what they are looking for; and
  • that you have a right to be given a receipt of the stop or search straightaway.

If the officer is not in uniform, they must show you their ID or badge.

If you are in a public place, you are not required to remove any clothing other than the outer layer - your coat or jacket and your gloves. The exception is if you have been stopped under anti-terrorism legislation, or in some circumstances where the officer believes you are using the clothing to conceal your identity. If they wish to search further and remove more than the items above you must be taken out of the public view. An officer of the same sex must be called to conduct the search. The Police are not permitted to swear at you, use profanities and intimidate you.

Controversial anti-terror laws which police have habitually used to justify stop and search without grounds for suspicion were recently ruled illegal by European judges. The power - Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 - has been used on hundreds of thousands of people. Now, since this landmark ruling in Europe, the police will only be able to stop and search somebody if they have intelligence that this particular individual is linked to terrorist activity.

It is also worth remembering that these uniformed thugs who abuse the rights of innocent children do it because no one challenges them. The police have no right to retain property found on anyone they search, unless they suspect if to be either the product of a crime, or about to be used to commit a crime. In these cases they must provide a receipt for the confiscated items, and a date on which the person can retrieve them from the police station. If the police fail to provide this they are committing theft.

The police are (at least in theory) not immune to prosecution for criminal offences conducted whilst on duty. In fact, the penalties for a police officer in uniform should be more severe. If you are stopped and searched, make a note of as much information as possible; get names of witnesses who saw the behaviour of these officers. Always consult a solicitor who will guide you through the process of IPCC complaints, and if enough evidence exists, push for prosecution.

Related Links




Re: Stop and search: know your rights
Posted by Anonymous (92.10.xx.xx) on Fri 9 Apr 2010 at 17:12
Always consult a solicitor? I presume you're not suggesting a Duty Solicitor - I have found out the hard way that they are in cahoots with the police, lining their pockets at public expense, and supporting and covering up police misconduct.

As for an independent solicitor, what if you're poor but can't get legal aid? It costs a bomb. And even if you've got the loot, do you know how hard it is to get a solicitor to take you on? And even if you do get lucky, you'll have to do most of the work yourself, and still pay through the nose for the privilege.

Please don't say "always consult a solicitor", like it really is that simple; It isn't.
[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Re: Stop and search: know your rights
Posted by Anonymous (90.210.xx.xx) on Sun 18 Apr 2010 at 10:47
Every person should access legal services and in my opinion you need one with a reputation of supporting both those accused and also funnily enough the police also, because every solicitor lives hand in hand with the users of the criminal justice system , those include the police.

Re: Stop and search: know your rights
Posted by Anonymous (81.170.xx.xx) on Sun 11 Apr 2010 at 14:27
This is a particularly worrying occurrence to our homeless readership, who're often subjected to stop and search multiple times a week, sometime even a day. We've several rough sleeping readers who have rolls of stop and search forms in their pocket, which account for only some of the times they're stopped. Richard Burdett, Editor,
[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Re: Stop and search: know your rights
Posted by Anonymous (86.7.xx.xx) on Wed 5 May 2010 at 23:07
The Police are bastards, I know that from personal experience and have seen first hand how certain officers treat certain sections of the community especially young black men, teenage boys and the homeless. The law should apply to everyone and especially to those who are supposed to uphold it. Too many times we read in papers how Police officers get away with breaking the law whether it be getting away with assaulting members of the public (G20 protests) or speeding. Only 354 out of 90,000 officers caught speeding in 2007 were prosecuted talk about one law for us and another for those with connections!

I have seen three big brutes of officers attack a 17 year old girl with truncheons for not putting down a bottle of beer she was holding after leaving a nightclub and I have been arrested for "obstructing the police" for daring to step in to prevent a gang of coppers beating my 16 year old friend up. I have also been involved in a massive brawl against numerous police which was started due to another case of the Police thinking they could assault us just because we were young working class men out on the piss one night. This brawl ended up with all 12 of us being arrested and many of us including me were beaten up in the cells but we were all let go in the morning without charge because the police knew that they were in the wrong and could easily have been sued for multiple assaults if we had had the resources to do so. It was literally a case of, we won't charge you and you won't charge us.

The police are not and should not be above the law but unfortunately it seems that they think they are and without some sort of well funded organisation who is prepared to constantly hold the police to account for their misconduct on our behalf they will continue to do so.

I thought Liberty was supposed to do this but I don't hear much about any cases they bring forward on behalf of people in the same way their sister organisation in the USA the ACLU does. If they do bring cases on behalf of victims of police brutality they need to be more vocal and let more people know that there is someone with resources prepared to back them if they require it.
[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Re: Stop and search: know your rights
Posted by ggcalderwood (92.3.xx.xx) on Tue 20 Jul 2010 at 15:44 [ Send Message ]
The P.S.N.I have been abusing section 44 for sum time, it always seems to be the same officers that conduct this search, and it is always carried out against vulnerable youths, yet the powers that be paper over the cracks to cover for these officers, the Police Ombudsmans seems to cover for the officers as well,i have submitted complaints to both the Ombudsman and the Policing Board, and i am eagerly awaiting the out come of their investigations, as the officers that carry out this sort of behaviour are committing a criminal offence, but because they wear a uniform, are never prosecuted, if the Police want to gain support in communittes then they have to deal with the rouge officers within the force and sack them rather than protect them
[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Re: Stop and search: know your rights
Posted by Anonymous (111.173.xx.xx) on Thu 7 Jul 2011 at 03:30
href=" 68-1">Christian Louboutin Black Pumps</a> are often the music artist supplements within all of the selection, for that reason you should head off to Louboutin stash to grasp all the unheard of business selecting
[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Re: Stop and search: know your rights
Posted by Anonymous (202.102.xx.xx) on Wed 17 Aug 2011 at 09:29
Most of the blogs online are pretty much the same but i think that your blog can be an exception. Cheers ![url=]north face jackets outlet[/url]
[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Cheap Air Jordan Shoes#
Posted by Anonymous (59.58.xx.xx) on Tue 30 Aug 2011 at 01:27
Always worth visiting your blog to read your cool posts. Keep them coming.[url=]Cheap Air Jordan Shoes[/url] [url=]Air Jordan Fusion[/url] [url=]Air Max sale[/url] [url=]Nike Air Max online[/url] [url=]prada handbags replica[/url] [url=]Prada bags replica[/url]
[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Anonymous (94.100.xx.xx) on Fri 7 Oct 2011 at 18:48
[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]