01482 778 463
Established since 1997
No Win No Fee
Award Winning Specialists
Hudgell Solicitors™ | Latest News | Stop and Search - what can and can’t the police do? Know your rights.

Stop and Search – what can and can’t the police do? Know your rights.

Police officers


It was interesting to see the BBC Newsnight programme (aired on Monday 12th February 2018) place focus on the issue of police stop and search powers and ask whether the targeting of the black community in London – particularly young black men – is coming at the cost of community relations.

The programme asked how police could tackle rising knife crime, which is at a six-year high in the capital, and what role stop and search powers should play.

It highlighted statistics showing that black men are four times more likely to be stopped and searched in London than white men, and that 35 per cent of young black males aged 15-18 were stopped and searched last year, compared with just 10 per cent of white men.

The programme spoke to a 25-year old black man who said he had been stopped so often, he could not remember how many times it had happened. He described how police officers would only justify their decision to stop him by saying they were looking for somebody ‘black and wearing urban clothes’, on one occasion the stop resulted in a strip search in the back of a police van.

A 32-year old man said he’d been stopped between 20 and 30 times in his life, with officers often simply saying they were investigating an ‘incident in the area’. A 28-year-old black man described having been stopped on many occasions since the age of 14, and said he felt police officers failed to treat young black men as ‘human beings’.

Section 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) 1984 was aimed at standardising the use of stop and search powers, but the statistics demonstrate that has not been the case.  Statistics do not suggest black people account for a greater proportion of crime to justify the disproportionate stop and search numbers, and that is having a damaging impact on police relations with some communities.

As a human rights solicitor specialising in actions against the police, many of my clients feel disenfranchised, frustrated and extremely distrusting of the police when exercising their stop and search powers, and we are now in a situation where 74 per cent of the British, Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community in the UK think they are unfairly targeted by police.

Know your rights

Given the increasing use of stop and search powers, it is important to know your legal rights.

  1. You are not required to provide your name when you are stopped and searched. If asked, always ask under what power they are entitled to know your name before answering.
  2. The police need to have reasonable suspicion that you have committed a crime before they stop and search you. Reasonable suspicion does not include the officer’s personal opinion, prejudice or stereotypes. A previous conviction does not give rise to a lawful ground to stop and search you.
  3. Before you are searched the officer must tell you;
  •  Their name
  •  The police station they are attached to
  •  The reason for the search
  •  Where the reasonable suspicion derives from
  •  Your entitlement to a copy of the search record.
  •  Plain clothes officers must show you their police ID.
  1. Failure to inform you of the above may render the search unlawful.
  2. As long as the police are not obstructed from carrying out their job, you, a friend or a member of the public are allowed to film the search, except where the police believe the footage will be used for acts of terrorism. You can also ask for the officer to switch on their body worn camera and request that the search is recorded.
  3. If the search is conducted in public, officers can only search your outer garments, including the pockets and your socks or shoes. A more thorough search must be conducted in private.
  4. The extent of the search must be proportionate and reasonable. For example, if you are stopped and searched as a robbery has taken place in the area and somebody has had their television stolen, it would not be reasonable for the officers to search the insides of your shoes.
  5. The police are allowed to use reasonable force to detain you whilst they carry out the search, so do not resist or obstruct the search and try to remain calm. In any event, the force used should be a last resort and must be proportionate and reasonable.
  6. You are entitled to a written record of the search at the end of the search. Make sure the record is completed in its entirety and in particular make sure the officer’s name, shoulder number and grounds for the search are clearly recorded.
  7. If you are unhappy with the way the search was carried out, or the conduct of the officer during the search, you have the right to make a complaint. As police body worn camera footage is retained for 31 days following the event, complaints need to be made promptly to prevent the evidence being deleted. Requests to view the body worn camera footage should also be made within the 31 day time frame.
No Comments

Leave a Reply

*Required

The Author

author image

Cyrilia Davies Knight

Deputy Head of Civil Liberties, London

cdk@hudgellsolicitors.co.uk

Request a callback

Request a callback from a solicitor

 I am an existing client.









Looking to see if you're eligible?

Get in touch for free legal advice

0808 159 7699

Call today to speak to an expert

OR
Start your claim

What Our Clients Think

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Professional staff

"Professional staff They keep me updated all the time Very good service Definitely recommended"

Mr Daniel Pantiru

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Straightforward and efficient

"I had the pleasure of having Sarah Colgrave as my solicitor. She was very accomodating,… "

Miss Rhianna Higham

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

An absolutely brilliant team of people

"An absolutely brilliant team of people! So kind a and helpful. Always putting their clients… "

Miss Chloe Ahad

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

very helpful & understanding

"very helpful & understanding"

Mrs Pauline Elliott

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Great firm to deal with

"Great firm to deal with, attentive and on the ball, everyone was always pleasant and… "

Karen Barnard

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Quicker than expected

"They were friendly, helpful when needed. Everything was done as expected all in black and… "

Mr W

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Excellent Company.

"I would like to thank Hudgell Solicitors for a very professional approach and caring attitude… "

paul baker

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Would highly recommend

"Would highly recommend"

Toyah johnson

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

They understood the issues in my case…

"They understood the issues in my case and dealt with the matter in a very… "

Mrs Zena Haroon

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

I must say

"I must say, the experience was pleasant and everyone I spoke to was lovely and… "

F Cole

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Professional & helpful throughout the…

"Professional & helpful throughout the process"

Mr Darron Sunman

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Absolutely Fantastic

"Absolutely Fantastic! Case took a lot less time than expected and the outcome was a… "

Danielle

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

8spot on service

"8spot on service"

Mr Alan Walker

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

I am extremely happy with the…

"I am extremely happy with the professionalism and friendly service I received from Sam Thompson… "

Mr Phillip Ivory

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Great service always friendly

"Great service always friendly. Always kept up to date with my claim. Every time frame… "

Mr Sean Quinn

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

A big thank you to all at hudgell…

"A big thank you to all at hudgell solicitors, the process of my injury claim… "

Mr christopher beavers

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Hudgell Solicitors were there when I needed them

"I would highly recommend Hudgell Solicitors to anyone in the unfortunate position of requiring legal… "

Mr Anthony O

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Hudgell Solicitors were so helpful…

"Hudgell Solicitors were so helpful through the whole process. they advised me on the best… "

Mr David Branton

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Very efficient and friendly service

"Very efficient and friendly service"

Mrs Lorraine Firth

Rated 9.4 out of 10 based on 434 reviews

Powered by Trustpilot

Our offices

London

55 Fleet Street
EC4Y 1JU

VIEW DETAILS

Hull

No 2 @ The Dock
46 Humber Street
HU1 1TU

VIEW DETAILS

Leeds

10 Park Place
Leeds
LS1 2RU

VIEW DETAILS

© 2018 Hudgell Solicitors®. All Rights Reserved.

Hudgell Solicitors is a trading name of Neil Hudgell Limited | Director Dr. Neil Hudgell MA LLB (Hons) LLD | Registered in England No. 7078429 | Authorised and Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority | SRA No. 521372 | VAT Registration No. 254 7802 90