Stop and Search


Police officers can stop and speak to you at any time. They can stop and search you and your vehicle if they have reasonable grounds to suspect you are carrying any of the following:

weapons / firearms / blades or sharp objects
stolen property
items which may be used to commit a crime- e.g. a screwdriver

When authorised by a senior officer, you may be searched for articles associated with terrorism or if violence is anticipated, for dangerous instruments, even if the officer does not suspect you to be in possession of any of the above.


A police officer must have a good reason for searching and should tell you what this is for example, you may be stopped and searched because a crime has been committed nearby and the police are looking for someone that may fit your description.

You should not be stopped or searched because of your race, colour, religion or the way you dress.

Nor should you be stopped because you have committed a crime in the past.



A police officer can usually only search you in a public place but if s/he suspects that you have committed a serious crime, you can be stopped and searched anywhere.

If the police think there may be serious violence in the area at a certain time, they can search for knives or other weapons without needing a good reason for each person. This may be the case, for example, at a football match.



If you are 16 or under, a parent or guardian must be present before any questioning can take place. It is important to have a solicitor present as well as a parent or guardian. If your parent or guardian is NOT present, DO NOT answer any questions at any time, except when giving your name and address

Can my car be stopped or searched?
What do I have to do?
Before the search
During the search
After the search...
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At the police station
What to do if you are contacted by MI5
What to do when contacted by Special |Branch
(also known as Anti-Terrorist Branch
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