Stop and Search

  1. Section 1 PACE 1984
    A constable may exercise any power conferred by this section in any place to which at the time when he proposes to exercise the power the public or any section of the public has access, on payment or otherwise, as of right or by virtue of express or implied permission; or in any other place to which people have ready access at the time when he proposes to exercise the power but which is not a dwelling.

    A constable may search any person or vehicle; anything which is in or on a vehicle, If he has reasonable grounds for suspecting that he will find stolen or prohibited articles and may detain a person or vehicle for the purpose of such a search.
  2. ‘Police Constable’
    Any constable can exercise this power or search whether in uniform or plain clothes
  3. ‘Detain’
    The Act gives a Constable the power to detain a person/vehicle in order to carry out a searchThe power only exists for the search; once the search is completed then the person may go about their business
  4. ‘Search’
    Only to the extent required to search for the item the person is suspected of carrying

    In public place only outer clothing; no power to ask people to remove clothing other than an outer coat, jacket or gloves

    If search needs to go beyond outer clothing, then person conducting search should be of same gender as person searched (no person opposite gender present) and search out of public view

  5. ‘Person, Vehicle’
    ‘Person means any person’

    ‘Vehicle’ is wide ranging and applies not only to vehicles, but also vessels, aircraft and hovercraft
  6. ‘Place’
    A Constable may exercise any power conferred by this section:

    In any place to which at the time when he/she proposes to exercise the power the public or any section of the public has access, on payment or otherwise, as of right or by virtue of express or implied permission

    • Or
    • In any other place to which people have ready access at the time when he/she proposes to exercise the power but which is not a dwelling
  7. 'Reasonable Grounds’
    Must suspect a person is in possession of, or a vehicle contains, stolen, prohibited, or sharply pointed or bladed articles before a search can be made

    Suspicion must be based on objective criteria and can never be supported on the basis of personal factors alone without reliable supporting intelligence, information or specific behaviour

    People’s race, age, appearance, or the fact that they are known to have a previous conviction cannot be used alone or in combination with each other as the reason for searching that person
  8. What are reasonable grounds?
    New PACE Code A test:

    (i) Firstly, the officer must have formed a genuine suspicion in their own mind that they will find the object for which the search power being exercised allows them to search and;

    (ii) Secondly, the suspicion that the object will be found must be reasonable. This means that there must be an objective basis for that suspicion based on facts, information and/or intelligence which are relevant to the likelihood that the object in question will be found, so that a reasonable person would be entitled to reach the same conclusion based on the facts and information and/or intelligence.

    “….searches are more likely to be effective, legitimate and secure public confidence when their reasonable grounds for suspicion are based on a range of objective factors…”
  9. Objective Basis
    “Officers must be able to explain the basis for their suspicion by reference to intelligence or information about, or some specific behaviour by, the person concerned.

    The exercise of stop and search powers depends on the likelihood that the person searched is in possession of an item for which they may be searched; it does not depend on the person concerned being suspected of committing an offence in relation to the object of the search.

    All Police officers must recognise that searches are more likely to be effective, legitimate and secure public confidence when their reasonable grounds for suspicion are based on a range of objective factors. The overall use of these powers is more likely to be effective when up-to-date and accurate intelligence or information is communicated to officers and they are well-informed about local crime patterns.

    Local Senior officers have a duty to ensure that those under their command who exercise stop and search powers have access to such information, and the officers exercising the powers have a duty to acquaint themselves with that information.”
  10. Reasonable Suspicion
    • SHACK
    • Seen – what have you seen?
    • Heard – What have you heard?
    • Actions – Yours and theirs Conversations – what did they say, what did you say. Knowledge  -  what do you already know about the individual (intelligence).
    • Smell – Drugs
  11. Stolen or Prohibited articles
    • Stolen articles and the proceeds of stolen goods
    • Prohibited articles are defined as:

    Offensive weapons


    Other articles made or adapted for use in the course or connection with

    • Theft      TWOC       Fraud Offences
    • or Fireworks or  to be used to cause Criminal Damage
  12. Sharply pointed or bladed articles
    This applies to any article which has a blade or is sharply pointed

    • Exception:
    • Folding pocket knife with a blade less than 7.62cm (3”) long which cannot be locked open - a longer bladed pocket knife is not exempt from this legislation.
  13. Innocent Possession
    It is not uncommon for children under the age of criminal responsibility to be used by older children/adults to carry stolen property, drugs and weapons and, in some cases, firearms, for the criminal benefit of others.

    Stop and search powers allow the police to intervene effectively to break up criminal gangs and groups who use young children for criminal activities.

    Children under 10 suspected of carrying unlawful items for someone else or where the circumstances suggest their welfare and safety may be at risk, should be treated in accordance with force safeguarding policies. In addition they should also be treated as a potentially vulnerable or intimidated witness.

    Safeguarding considerations will also apply to other persons aged under 18 in line with the requirement on Chief Constables under the Children's Act 2004, for the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of all persons under the age of 18.
  14. Procedure after searches
    • A record must be made of the search (unless wholly impracticable) and must contain:
    • name or description of person searched
    • note of person’s self-defined ethnic background
    • if vehicle, its registration number
    • the object/purpose of and grounds for the search and its outcome
    • date time place
    • the outcome
    • note of any injury or damage caused
    • identities of officer involved
  15. Stop and Search Public Survey
    An anonymous survey has been introduced for the public to provide feedback on their stop and search which is used to influence future training/organisational learning.

    As part of every Stop and search encounter you are now required to provide a copy of the new notice of search (form A302b) to the person being searched.

    The A302b signposts members of the public to the stop and search page of the Essex Police website where they can find further details about their rights, Essex police policy and procedure, and can take part in the anonymous survey.
  16. Section 60 CJPO Act 1994
    Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994
    This is a search power that can be authorised by an Inspector or above.

    It lasts for twenty-four hours and applies to a nominated location (precise geographic location, bordered by boundaries).

    A superintendent or above may extend the power for a further twenty-four hours.

    It is a temporary power to prevent acts of serious violence in an area.

    The inspector must reasonably believe serious violence may occur and…

    People are carrying dangerous implements or offensive weapons.

    Dangerous implements are bladed or sharply-pointed articles

    Offensive weapons are items made, adapted or intended to cause harm

    Carrying includes weapons located in vehicles
  17. Section 60AA
    Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994
    Provides powers to require the removal of disguises at public order events where a section 60 authorisation is in force.

    This subsection confers power on any constable in uniform

    (a) to require any person to remove any item which the constable reasonably believes that person is wearing wholly or mainly for the purpose of concealing his identity;   

    b) to seize any item which the constable reasonably believes any person intends to wear wholly or mainly for that purpose.

    If a police officer of or above the rank of Inspector reasonably believes:that activities may take place in any locality in his police area that are likely (if they take place) to involve the commission of offences,

    that it is expedient, in order to prevent or control the activities, to give an authorisation under this subsection, he may give an authorisation that the powers conferred by this section shall be exercisable at any place within that locality for a specified period not exceeding twenty-four hours.
  18. Section 60 CJPO Act 1994 cont...
    60(4) This section confers on any constable in uniform power

    (a) to stop any pedestrian and search him or anything carried by him for offensive weapons or dangerous instruments

    (b) to stop any vehicle and search the vehicle, its driver and any passenger for offensive weapons or dangerous instruments.

    Officers do not need reasonable suspicion to stop and search a person or vehicle.Searches must be conducted in accordance with PACE and recorded.

    There is also a power in this Act to require removal of face coverings and masks.

    A person who fails to stop, or to stop a vehicle    when required to do so by a constable in the exercise of his powers under this section commits an offence   

    Summary: Fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale and/or maximum one month imprisonment
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Stop and Search
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