Legally – Only a police officer can stop and search you
A police officer can search your clothing, and anything else you have in your posession or are carrying such as a bag rucksack, etc.
However– if powers under the ‘Terrorism Act 2000’ are being applied then ‘Police Community Support Officers’ have the authority to search vehicles and bags carried by persons as long as it is carried out under the supervision of a police officer.
For what reasons would I be stopped and searched by the police?
You may be stopped as and searched as the officer may have grounds to suspect that you are carrying:
- Drugs, weapons or stolen property, i.e Items that could be used to:
- commit crime.
- commit an act of terrorism
- cause criminal damage
The grounds the police officer must have are generally based on facts, forwarded information or intelligence, or simply could be based on the way you are behaving.
Can the police stop me if they don’t suspect anything?
There are certain times when police officers have authority to search anyone within a certain area, for example:-
- An area where a terrorist threat has been identified – under the ‘Section 44 Terrorism Act 2000’.
- Where there is evidence that serious violence has or may take place – under the ‘Section 60 Criminal Justice / Public Order Act 1994’.