Know Your Rights

Stop and Question – a police officer has powers to stop you at any time and ask you:

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

However, you do not have to answer any questions the police officer asks you.

Stop and Search -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, e.g. a crowbar

Before you are searched, the police officer must tell you:

  • their name and police station
  • what they expect to find e.g. drugs
  • the reason they want to search you, e.g. it looks like you’re hiding something
  • why they are legally allowed to search you

The acronym S.E.A.R.C.H is a good way to remember your rights if you are being stop/searched:

Stay calm. You can influence the outcome, the search will end faster and will reduce your chance of arrest.

Eye contact with the officer makes you feel equal to them and makes it easier to engage in a conversation.

Ask questions. Take it as a conversation, not a confrontation. For ever question they ask, you can also ask them something.

-WHY are you stopping me? On what legal grounds?

-WHAT are you looking for?

-WHO are you? Officers name and ID number

-WHERE are you from? The station where they are registered.

Record on your mobile phone. It is within your right to film the interaction that takes place, before doing so, politely inform the police officer that you are going to use your phone to record.

Confidence not arrogance.

Hold to account. Get a receipt from the police officer that has stop and searched you, make sure every section is completed and is accurate.

Check out this video for the application of S.E.A.R.C.H :

For more information about your rights: