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Stop and search: Know your rights

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Police officers and Police Community Support Officers have powers to stop and question you at any time - but they can only search you depending on the situation.

Stop and search is one of a number of powers we use to detect and prevent crime. The main purpose of using stop and search is to enable an officer to check suspicions about individuals without them having to make an arrest.

A stop and search is when a police officer stops and then searches you, your vehicle, your clothes and anything you're carrying. You won't necessarily be searched every time you're stopped. Sometimes you might just be stopped and questioned. 

A police officer can only search you if he or she suspects you are carrying

  • drugs
  • weapons
  • 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