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 Stop and Search 850x400

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.
  • You should also receive a Stop & Search Z Card outlining your rights and how you can complain if you feel you have been unfairly treated.

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 click here.  

Section 60

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 will take place or a person is carrying weapons.

S.60 is different to other stop and search powers in that it requires the authority of a Chief Officer and officers carrying out the search itself, do not require reasonable grounds to suspect that the person or vehicle is carrying weapons.

Cumbria Constabulary utilises this power infrequently, with only four authorities since 2010, hence why there is no significant data in relation to S.60 in the above data set.

The process for the authority of a S60 in Cumbria can be accessed here

As a part of the Best Use of Stop & Search scheme, changes have been made in relation to authority and use under Section 60 of the Criminal Justice & Public Order Act 1984.

Key changes being:

  1. Raising the level of authorisation from Inspector to Senior Officer (ACC or above).
  2. Raising the threshold from may to will reasonably anticipate violence, so an officer must reasonably believe that an incident involving serious violence will take place.
  3. In all cases an authority must only be granted when it is necessary to do so, rather than just being expedient.
  4. The duration will be limited to 15 hours (previously 24).
  5. We will effectively communicate to the public (when practicable) where there is a Section 60 authorisation in place and post authorisation / incident, thus keeping the public informed of the purpose and success of the operation.

Strategic Independent Advisory Group

Our IAG are always keen to encourage representation from across our communities, young people are currently under represented and we would appreciate more volunteers from this age group.

The IAG is made up of Independent community members from varying backgrounds, who meet quarterly to hold the force to account on its performance and review the Constabularies work at major events / incidents.

A separate Stop & Search Scrutiny Group linked to the Strategic IAG has been created and has now sat twice, feeding back to both the Constabulary and the IAG.

Please contact Inspector Jon Sherlock on 101 or if you would be interested in representing your community and sitting on such a group.

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
Cumbria Constabulary
Carleton Hall
CA10 2AU

Use our Online Form
Tel: 101

Community Trigger

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.

Home Office Best Use of Stop & Search Scheme

Cumbria Constabulary is a participating force in the Governments Best Use of Stop & Search Scheme.

Select Here for more information about this scheme.

Select Here for the latest update on the Stop & Search Scheme (Updated November 2016)

Select Here for Best Use of Stop & Search Scheme Policy Statement (Updated September 2016)

Select Here for Cumbria Constabulary Stop & Search Procedures (Updated September 2016)