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Know your rights

​​​​​​​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​

What are my rights?

The officers searching you must use the stop and search powers fairly, responsibly and with dignity & respect for people without discriminating.

If English is not your first language, and you do not understand why you have been stopped, reasonable steps must be taken to provide you with information in your own language.

The officer must make sure that the search time is kept to a minimum.

The search must take place near where you are stopped, except in instances where moving you would protect your privacy.

The officer does not have the power to stop you in order to find grounds for a search. More comprehensive details of your rights when you are stopped and searched are available in the Home Office website, HMIC report PACE & Code of Ethics.

Your right to complain

If you are unhappy with how you were treated you can give us your feedback and by working with us, we can ensure that we continue to use stop and search powers to the satisfaction of our communities, helping to create the safest county in the country.

You can also make a complaint. You should complain if you think you have been treated unfairly, been the subject of discrimination or not treated with dignity, respect and civility. It will help if you keep the form that the police gave you.

Click here to complete an online feedback or complaints form​ .​