Stop and search remains a hugely important police power for protecting the public, tackling crime and keeping our streets safe.

Stop and search must be used in a fair and effective way that supports public confidence and is independently scrutinised.

We do not underestimate the impact stop and search has on communities and individuals. We know that to maintain public confidence in its use, the power must be used in a fair and effective manner.

Primary purpose of stop and search

The primary purpose of stop and search is to enable officers to either allay or confirm their suspicions about an individual without having to arrest them.

Effectiveness must reflect where suspicion has been allayed and an unnecessary arrest, which is more intrusive, has been avoided; or where suspicion has been confirmed and the object is found or a relevant crime is detected.

Recording stop and searches

The use of body worn video cameras help to reassure the public that their interactions with the police are recorded. The technology offers greater transparency for those in front of the camera as well as those behind it.

The cameras will allow officers to demonstrate the professionalism of officers, gather evidence and demonstrate their professionalism in the face of many challenges.

Effective stop and searches

We believe a stop and search is most likely to be fair and effective when:

  • the search is justified, lawful and stands up to public scrutiny
  • the officer has genuine and objectively reasonable suspicion they will find a prohibited article or item for use in crime
  • the person understands why they have been searched and feels they have been treated with respect
  • the search was necessary and was the most proportionate method the police officer could use to establish whether the person has such an item

Our chief constable supports the use of stop and search in a fair and effective way that enhances public confidence and is independently scrutinised.

We will continue to work with our communities and stakeholders to improve the quality of interactions and ensure that stop and search continues to protect the public.