Information for People Stopped and Searched
Police Officers are required to use powers of stop and search fairly and without prejudice. They are also required to be as considerate and courteous as possible whilst maintaining the public’s and their own safety. Stop and search powers allow the police to search you, the car you are in, or any item you are carrying. They also allow police officers to search unattended vehicles.
When exercising these powers police officers can use reasonable force to detain and search you but they are only allowed to use force if you have been given the chance to co-operate, where appropriate, and you have refused.
What The Police Officer Must Do...
Before using any search power the officer must take reasonable steps to give you the following information:
- His / her name (except for terrorism searches) and the police station he/she is from
- The object of the search - What he / she is looking for
- The grounds or authorisation for the search - Why he / she is searching you
- Your entitlement to a full copy of the search record now or if this is not practicable, if you request a copy within 3 months from the date of the search
- If not in uniform, the officer must show his/her warrant card
- The legislative power under which you have been stopped
- You are being detained for the purpose of the search
- In a public place you do not have to remove any more than your coat, jacket and gloves
- If required to remove your shoes, socks, T-shirt or headgear, you will be taken somewhere more private such as a police van/police station
- If required to remove more than this, you must be taken to a police station or a private place. In this case the officer must be of the same sex.
Definition of Fair & Effective Stop Search
A stop and search is most likely to be fair and effective when:
- the search is justified, lawful and stands up to public scrutiny;
- the officer has genuine and objectively reasonable suspicion they will find a prohibited article or item for use in crime;
- the person understands why they have been searched and feels that they have been treated with respect;
- the search was necessary and was the most proportionate method the police officer could use to establish whether the person has such an item.
Why Do We Need Stop & Search
This informative two minute video explains the stop & search process:
Stop & Search Statistics
For Cumbria Constabulary financial year to date stop and search statistics including detailed outcomes, ethnicity and age breakdowns please click here (data correct up 30/11/2018)
Report into Stop Search Anomalies here
Further Cumbria Stop Search statistics can also be found at Police.uk click here.
Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 gives police the right to search people in a defined area, during a specific time period if they believe serious violence may take place or a person is carrying weapons.
Section 60 is different to other stop and search powers in that it requires the authority of a Superintendent and officers carrying out the search itself, do not require reasonable grounds to suspect that the person or vehicle is carrying weapons.
Cumbria Police utilises this power infrequently, with only four authorities since 2010, hence why there is no significant data in relation to Section 60 in the above data set.
The process for the authority of a Section 60 in Cumbria can be accessed here.
Police Powers Scrutiny panel
Our police powers scrutiny panel is made up of independent community members from different backgrounds. Meetings will be held 3 times a year to hold the force to account on its performance and review incidents in which police powers such as stop and search and use of force are used.
There has been one panel meeting thus far and our North Police cadets have also reviewed several stop and search cases. Below are our terms of reference and minutes of the panel meetings.
Stop Search Scrutiny Panel Meeting 6th February 2020 minutes
Scrutiny panel terms of reference
The panel is under represented from young people and members of the BAME community. If anyone would be interested in joining the group and would like to volunteer, please contact Inspector Gemma Hannah on email@example.com
Lay Observation Scheme
This scheme provides members of the public with the opportunity to accompany police officers on patrol when they might deploy stop and search powers.
If you would be interested in taking part, please Click Here
If you think you have been treated unfairly, you can complain by contacting:
Professional Standards Department
Use our Online Form
If you have any general concerns or complaints about the way stop search is being carried out in your local community, a Community Trigger can be initiated through contacting the above or through our Community Trigger Application Form.
Due to the low number of stop and search complaints received by the Constabulary, each complaint made will activate the trigger.
This will then result in an investigation by our Professional Standards Dept., Senior Officer Scrutiny will take place and the complaint will receive oversight from an identified local scruntiny group.