In an emergency always call 999

Stop and Search

Police officers

Only a police officer can stop and go on to search you, your clothes and anything you are carrying, except when powers under the Terrorism Act 2000 are being used.

In this case, a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) may search vehicles and bags carried by persons under the supervision of a police officer.

You may be stopped as the officer may have grounds to suspect that you are carrying:

  • Drugs, weapons or stolen property
  • Items that could be used to commit crime, assist in an act of terrorism or cause criminal damage

The grounds the police officer must have should be based on facts, information or intelligence or could be because of the way you are behaving. There are times however when police officers can search anyone within a certain area, for example:

  • Where there is evidence that serious violence has or may take place. (Section 60 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994)

The police officer should explain this to you and must be searching for items that could be used in connection with violence or terrorism.

Search and seizure powers alcohol and tobacco

A PCSO has the power to search, seize and dispose of alcohol where the PCSO reasonably believes that a person is in possession of alcohol or a container for alcohol in contravention of a requirement that the PCSO has given under section 12 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 (alcohol consumption in public places) or section 1 of the Confiscation of Alcohol (Young Persons) Act 1997 (confiscation of intoxicating liquor) by virtue under of the standard powers and duties of a PCSO.

A PCSO has the power to search, seize and dispose of tobacco where the PCSO reasonably believes that a person is in possession of tobacco and the PCSO has a duty to seize under section 7(3) of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 (seizure of tobacco etc. from young persons) by virtue under of the standard powers and duties of a PCSO.

HMIC Stop and Search Recommendations

In 2013, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) published Stop and Search Powers: Are the police using them effectively and fairly?

The report concluded that stop and search powers were rarely targeted at priority crimes in particular areas and there was very little understanding in forces about how the powers should be used most effectively and fairly to cut crime.

HMIC made ten recommendations in the report and made a commitment to revisit the subject 18 months later to assess the progress forces had made against those recommendations.

In 2014, HMIC completed this follow up and in 2015 published its report Stop and Search Powers 2: Are the police using them effectively and fairly?

In the autumn of 2014, the Home Office published details of the Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme to which Derbyshire Constabulary has signed up to. The scheme introduces a number of measures designed to create greater transparency, accountability and community involvement in the use of stop and search powers.

That same year, the All Parliamentary Group for Children published their report It’s All About Trust: Building Good Relationships Between Children and the Police.

Each of these reports makes a number of recommendations into improving the police’s use of stop and search in order to improve its effectiveness, its transparency and to ensure public confidence across all communities in its use.

Derbyshire's Action Plan

Derbyshire Constabulary believes that stop and search when used appropriately is an effective tactic allowing the police to keep the communities of Derbyshire safe by preventing and reducing crime. As a force we have to ensure that it is used correctly, at the right time, in the right place and in the right circumstances. We also need to our local communities to assist us in critically assessing its use.

Our action plan sets out the recommendations from the four mentioned reports and details what Derbyshire Constabulary is doing to meet these recommendations. This will be kept updated so that the progress we are making can be seen.

You can see the latest performance information on the attached report detailing the number of stop and searches and arrests broken down by ethnicity, reason for search and reason for arrest.

You can also now view stop and search activity and download the latest stops details and outcome of stops within the county by visiting:

Via this link you will be able to see what stop and searches have been conducted in a particular area, with details on each search.

If you have any other queries with regards to stop and search then please contact us on 101.


Do you need a quick answer to a general question? Then we recommend you visit the national Ask The Police web site.