Stop and Search

The Stop and Search laws are designed to keep everybody safe, including you. They are not intended to harass or intimidate you, and can help the police detect crime and make our communities safer. Any stop search should be fair, lawful and justified, carried out in a respectful and professional manner.

 

Durham Constabulary recognise that stop search can be highly emotive and if misused, can be harmful to trust and confidence in us. They are some of the most intrusive powers we use daily which can effect individuals but also group and wider communities. This is the reason we need to ensure we get it right and the reason that we strive to ensure every search, where possible, is recorded on Body worn Video, recorded correctly and then quality checked by their supervisors.  

 

We are committed to listening to feedback from communities, and ensuring that when we use this power it is justified, people are provided with good information and we treat everyone with dignity and respect. This is the reason we undertake a scrutiny process with the community groups to examine whether we are using these powers proportionately, legally, effectively and efficiently every time.

 

The police have the right to detain a person and their vehicle for the purposes of a search if they have reasonable grounds to suspect they will find;

·         Drugs

·         ‘Offensive weapons’, such as a knife

·         Firearms

·         Stolen property, or

·         Tools which could be used to commit a crime.

 

The Officer must have reasonable grounds to suspect

There must be some objective basis to an officer’s ‘reasonable grounds for suspicion’. For example an unbiased suspicion which another reasonable person would reach. Every search carried out is recorded on an individual form with a unique reference number. The grounds for the search being carried out, along with the lawful power used will be recorded on this form and will be quality checked by the officers supervisors.

 

Do you know your rights?

Officers should always provide you with the following information so you understand what is happening during the stop search and why it is happening. This information does not need to be provided in any particular order but officers are encouraged to use the pneumonic GOWISELY when carrying out a stop search.

 

G – The officer must explain the grounds of the search

O – The officer must inform you of what object they are searching you for

W – If the office is not in uniform they should show you their warrant card as

       Identification

I – The officer should identify themselves by name and collar number so you know    

      who they are

S - The officer should tell you at which police station they are based from

E – You should be informed you are entitled to a copy of the search form if

       requested within 3 months from the search being conducted

L – The legal authority they are using to carry out the search should be explained

Y – You must be told that you are being detained for the purpose of a search

 

Can I refuse to be searched?

Stop and Search is not voluntary. If you refuse to be searched this could lead to an arrest and if you resist the police can use reasonable force to conduct the search.

 

The officer can search JOG – your jacket, outer clothing and gloves


What legal authority could be used to search?

These powers are granted to the police by the following laws;

·         Section 1 of the Police & Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE)

·         Section 23 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (MDA)

·         Section 47 of the Firearms Act 1968.

·         Section 60 of the Criminal Justice & Public Order Act 1994

·         Section 36 of the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016

Other legislation that require officers to form a reasonable suspicion and which could apply in specified circumstances are;

·         Section 7 Sporting Events Act 1985 (control of alcohol)

·         Section 4 of the Crossbows Act 1987

·         Section 2 Poaching Prevention Act 1862

·         Section 12 of Deer Act 1991

·         Section 11 Protection of Badgers Act 1992

·         Section 19 Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981

·         Section 139B Criminal Justice Act 1988 – search on school premises for bladed article

 

Stop and Search is governed by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, Code A

These powers also allow the police to search your vehicle when it is unattended. If so, a notice should be left in or on it by the searching officers stating the search and their police station.​


Click here to view Stop & Search 2019 report

 

DURHAM CONSTABULARY - STOP & SEARCH - APRIL 2018 to MARCH 2019
Ethnicity/Reason for Stop Stolen Property Drugs Firearms Offensive Weapon Going Equipped Criminal Damage Other TOTAL
White British 269 883 34 168 260 0 15 1629
White Irish 1 5 0 0 1 0 0 7
Other White 4 9 0 3 4 0 0 20
WHITE 274 897 34 171 265 0 15 1656
Mixed Caribbean 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
Mixed African 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 4
Mixed Asian 1 10 0 0 0 0 1 12
Other Mixed 0 5 0 2 1 0 0 8
MIXED 2 18 1 2 1 0 1 25
Indian 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 3
Pakistani 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Bangladeshi 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2
Other Asian 0 10 0 0 2 0 0 12
ASIAN 0 13 0 1 3 0 0 17
Black Caribbean 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 2
Black African 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 4
Other Black 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2
BLACK 4 3 0 0 1 0 0 8
Chinese 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Other 0 1 0 2 1 0 0 4
OTHER 0 2 0 2 1 0 0 5
NOT STATED 4 15 3 5 7 0 0 34
TOTAL 284 948 38 181 278 0 16 1745
Arrests resulting from stop search Stolen Property Drugs Firearms Offensive Weapon Going Equipped Criminal Damage Other TOTAL
White British 86 201 8 43 51 0 0 389
White Irish 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 3
Other White 1 1 0 2 2 0 0 6
WHITE 87 204 8 45 54 0 0 398
Mixed Caribbean 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Mixed African 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Mixed Asian 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 3
Other Mixed 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 2
MIXED 1 4 0 0 1 0 0 6
Indian 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 2
Pakistani 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Bangladeshi 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other Asian 0 3 0 0 1 0 0 4
ASIAN 0 4 0 0 2 0 0 6
Black Caribbean 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Black African 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Other Black 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BLACK 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Chinese 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Other 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
OTHER 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
NOT STATED 1 2 0 1 1 0 0 5
TOTAL 90 215 8 46 58 0 0 417
% of stop searches resulting in arrest Stolen Property Drugs Firearms Offensive Weapon Going Equipped Criminal Damage Other TOTAL
White British 32% 23% 24% 26% 20% 0% 0% 24%
White Irish 0% 40% 0% 0% 100% 0% 0% 43%
Other White 25% 11% 0% 67% 50% 0% 0% 30%
WHITE 32% 23% 24% 26% 20% 0% 0% 24%
Mixed Caribbean 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Mixed African 100% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 25%
Mixed Asian 0% 30% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 25%
Other Mixed 0% 20% 0% 0% 100% 0% 0% 25%
MIXED 50% 22% 0% 0% 100% 0% 0% 24%
Indian 0% 100% 0% 0% 100% 0% 0% 67%
Pakistani 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Bangladeshi 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Other Asian 0% 30% 0% 0% 50% 0% 0% 33%
ASIAN 0% 31% 0% 0% 67% 0% 0% 35%
Black Caribbean 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Black African 25% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 25%
Other Black 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
BLACK 25% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 13%
Chinese 0% 100% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 100%
Other 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
OTHER 0% 50% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 20%
NOT STATED 25% 13% 0% 20% 14% 0% 0% 15%
TOTAL 32% 23% 21% 25% 21% 0% 0% 24%