Remember, under the Stop and Search legislation, everyone has rights. This includes the person being stopped and searched and the officer doing the stop and search. Sussex Police treat everyone fairly regardless of race, religion, belief, gender, sexuality or ethnicity. The intention of a stop and search is to prevent unnecessary arrests and to keep you and others safe.
Every person who is stopped and searched is entitled to a receipt. This is offered at the time of the search or can be requested at a later date from a police station within a year of the stop and search taking place.
It’s normal for our officers to record a stop and search using their body worn video. The person being stopped and searched can also record the interaction so long as they are not obstructive.
When stopped, the officer will give their name and the police station they work from. The officer will explain:
The reason for the stop, known as the grounds
What they think they may find, the objective of the search
Why a person is being detained for a short while and which police power they are using to do so
If the person who is stopped has a problem understanding what is being explained by an officer, they have the right to ask for an interpreter or for an appropriate adult.
Our advice is to try to remain calm. Officers understand that being stopped and searched can be worrying for some people. Our officers will do what they can to protect a person’s dignity and privacy during a stop and search.
Normally the officer doing the search will be the same gender as the person being stopped though there may be occasions when this isn’t possible.
If there is a need for a strip search, this will always be done by an officer of the same gender. A strip search will never happen in a public place.
During a stop and search, the officer may ask the person who is stopped to remove their jacket or other outer garments such as hats, gloves and scarves. They will search through any items being carried, for example a rucksack, wallet or handbag. Officers will be respectful and treat people with dignity.
Remember REWIND. Everyone has rights.
We have a responsibility to ensure we use Stop and Search powers effectively and fairly. Being held accountable over what we do is fundamental to the trust and confidence people place in us.
For an overview of our Stop and Search statistics, please click here to visit police.uk.
We are currently merging our Stop and Search data recording systems for our mobile devices and desktop terminals which means we are unable to share our data publically. We have informed the Home Office and as a consequence publishing our data at the current time would mean we are in breach of a technical aspect of data publishing.
When the update is completed, we will be able to publish the data retrospectively along with current data going forward. We are continuing to monitor our Stop and Searches which are internally audited and subject to independent scrutiny.’
In August 2014 the Home Office introduced the 'Best use of Stop and Search Scheme', a voluntary initiative which was welcomed by Sussex Police and the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner.
The Scheme aims to achieve greater transparency and community involvement in the use of stop and search and support a more intelligence-led approach.
By taking part in the scheme, we are making a commitment to:
Reduce the number of Section 60 searches (a power to search anyone within a given area based upon a significant risk of serious violence) by increasing the seniority of the officer who can authorise these searches and limiting the duration of initial authorisations to 15 hours
Record the outcome of searches in more detail to show the link, or lack of, between why the search took place and the outcome of the search. For example, was a person arrested as a result of the search and were they later charged?
Due to an IT upgrade to allow stop search to be recorded on mobile devices we are temporarily unable to publish our data in full. We are seeking a technical resolution as soon as possible. This means we are reporting a breach of a key component of the Scheme until rectified
Introduce a lay observation policy ('Ride-along Scheme') so that members of the public can accompany police officers and see stop and searches taking place.
Put into place a complaints process, so that people can have their case reviewed by an independent scrutiny panel. Complaints can be made through a number of channels
Sussex Police is required to make public any deviation from the scheme and breaches will require our membership of the scheme to be automatically reviewed by the Home Office.
All forces, including those not in the scheme, must ensure that Stop and Search powers are applied in accordance with the law and only used if necessary
Community Complaints Trigger
You can request a Community Complaints Trigger by completing our online form.
Submissions will be independently reviewed by a Stop and Search Scrutiny Panel made up of members of the public. Reviews can also be requested by a third party such as MP, local councillor, community group, or a carer for a vulnerable person or for someone with disabilities that would prevent them from requesting a case review themselves.
A third party can only request a review on behalf of a subject if they have the subjects consent. Checks will be made to ensure that third party requests are genuine; the subject will be contacted to ensure that they are happy with the request being made.
Stop and Search Independent Scrutiny Panel
Sussex Police regularly hosts a Stop and Search scrutiny panel; meetings take place at Sussex Police HQ in Lewes, comprising community members from across the county. The purpose of the panel is to improve the trust and confidence of communities, and provide an opportunity for members of the public to independently quality assure the use of Stop and Search powers in Sussex. This includes exploring disproportionality of district level data, assessing the lawfulness of grounds and subsequent outcomes of activity.
Click here to read the terms of reference for the Scrutiny Panel.
Click here to download the minutes from the Scrutiny Panel meeting, January 2019.