Your Rights & Responsibilities

Police Officer Stop and Search

What are my rights?

Here's a basic rundown of rights that protect you:

The officers searching you must use the stop and search powers fairly, responsibly and with respect for people without discriminating.

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 officer must make sure that the search time is kept to a minimum
The search must take place near where you are stopped, except in instances where moving you would protect your privacy.

The officer does not have the power to stop you in order to find grounds for a search. A more comprehensive site to all your rights when you are stopped and searched is contained in the Home Office website.

Your right to complain

If you are unhappy with how you were treated, you can complain. You can also complain if you feel you were treated differently because of your race, age, sexuality, gender, disability, religion or faith. It will help if you keep the form that the police gave you.

To complete an online complaints form, see related links.

What are my responsibilities?

Everyone has a civic duty to help police officers prevent crime and catch offenders. The fact that the police may have stopped someone does not mean they are guilty of an offence.

Apart from the inconvenience, people may feel irritated that they’ve been stopped when they haven’t done anything wrong – that’s completely understandable. However, the stop or stop and search will be much quicker if a person co-operates with police officers.

Don’t forget that the stop or stop and search must be carried out according to strict rules – the police have responsibility to ensure that people’s rights are protected. Everyone should expect to be treated fairly and responsibility.

In almost all cases, an individual should be given a record of the stop or stop and search at the time it happens. The police use these powers to help make the local community safer by disrupting crime – public co-operation is an essential part of that.