Your rights and responsibilities

Everyone has a civic duty to help police prevent crime and catch offenders. However, the fact that a police officer has stopped and searched someone does not mean they are guilty of a crime

Police use these powers to help make the local community safer by disrupting crime and so public co–operation makes this easier.

The stop and search may take a quite a bit of time as it must be carried out according to strict rules but the police have a responsibility to ensure people’s rights are protected. Everyone should expect to be treated fairly and respectfully.

We understand that apart from the inconvenience, it can be annoying being stopped when you haven’t done anything wrong. However, the stop and search will be much quicker if the person stopped co–operates with the police officer.

What to expect

The officers searching you must use the stop and search powers fairly, responsibly and with respect for the person without discrimination. It should also be conducted as quickly as possible.

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 search will take place near to where you are stopped, except for when another location would protect your privacy.

In all cases, you will be offered an electronic receipt of the stop and search at the time it happens.

What not to expect

The officer does not have the power to stop you in order to find reasons (or grounds) for a search.

For more information including consultations, related research data and policy papers visit the Home Office website.

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