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Know your Rights


Stop and Search


The police have powers to stop and question you at any time - they can search you depending on the situation.

A police community support officer (PCSO) must be in uniform when they stop and question you. A police officer doesn’t always have to be in uniform but if they’re not wearing uniform they must show you their warrant card.


Stop and question: police powers


A police officer has powers to stop you at any time and ask you:

  • what you're doing
  • why you're in an area and/or where you're going

However, you don’t have to answer any questions the police officer asks you.


Stop and search: police powers


A police officer has powers to stop and search you if they have ‘reasonable grounds’ to suspect you’re carrying:

  • illegal drugs
  • a weapon
  • stolen property
  • something which could be used to commit a crime, eg a crowbar

You can only be stopped and searched without reasonable grounds if it has been approved by a senior police officer. This can happen if it is suspected that:

  • serious violence could take place
  • you're carrying a weapon or have used one
  • you're in a specific location or area


Before you’re searched


Before you’re searched the police officer must tell you:

  • - their name and police station

  •  what they expect to find, eg drugs

  •  the reason they want to search you, eg it looks like you’re hiding something

  • why they are legally allowed to search you
  • that you can have a record of the search and if this isn't possible at the time, how you can get a copy


Removing clothing: police powers


A police officer can ask you to take off your coat, jacket or gloves.

The police might ask you to take off other clothes and anything you’re wearing for religious reasons - eg a veil or turban. If they do, they must take you somewhere out of public view.

If the officer wants to remove more than a jacket and gloves they must be the same sex as you.

Remember - being searched doesn't mean you're being arrested


Have you been stop searched? Tell us about your experience

Visit www.derbyshire.police.uk/Feedback


Further information and guidance


National Stop and Search website

Derby Citizen’s Advice and Law Centre

Derbyshire Law Centre


Related information






Accompanying Information 


Stop and Search Information Poster



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