Ramping up Stop and Search

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Ramping up Stop and Search

In recent news the Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, is encouraging forces including the British Transport Police in England and Wales to increase their use of Stop and Searches to limit the possession of illegal weapons and articles.

What is Stop and Search?

Intended to be a preventative measure, stop and search is the power given to the police if they have ‘reasonable grounds’ to suspect you are carrying:

  • Illegal drugs
  • Weapons
  • Stolen property
  • Or something other which could assist a crime

When a police officer stops and searches you, they must identify themselves to you, tell you that you are being detained for the purposes of the search, what powers they are using, the details of what item(s) they are searching for and explain their reasonable grounds for suspicion.

They must make a record of the search and provide you with a receipt.

The police can ask you for your personal details. You do not have to provide those.

If you refuse to be stopped and searched the police can search you by force.

The police can ask you to take off your coat, jacket, or gloves. They can ask you to remove other clothing or anything you are wearing for religious reasons however if they do this, they must take you somewhere out of public view. If the officer wants to remove these extra items of clothing, they must be the same sex as you.

What are the current issues with police powers for stop and search?

Some argue stop and search is controversial as it does not have a significant impact on the level of crime in an area, despite its aim to try and regulate and prevent crime.

An area which is heavily scrutinised is the usage of Suspicionless Section 60 Orders which can be carried out without ‘reasonable grounds’. This can only be carried out by police officers in uniform with the authorisation of an inspector. Following procedural changes in 2022 by Priti Patel, officers may only need to anticipate that serious violence may occur and no longer need to publicly communicate authorisations to communities in advance.

Talk to us

If you think you have been wrongfully stopped and searched or have been discriminated against, you should seek legal advice. If you or someone that you know may benefit from advice in relation to this area, get in touch with our expert team at JMW today. Call us on 0345 872 6666 or complete our online enquiry form and we will get back to you.

This blog was co-authored by Elisha Kaur.

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