UK Police Stop Search Powers

UK Police Stop Search Powers

Here at Prepper Bits, we consider ourselves to be part of the global prepping community. On occasion, we publish articles that relate to laws and rules in specific countries. This is one of those occasions because the information in this article is United Kingdom specific. This article provides information about current UK police stop search powers. I’m sure Prepper Bits readers from around the world will still find this article interesting, especially if you are planning on visiting the United Kingdom in the future.

One of the reasons the UK police can stop and search you is if they suspect you are carrying a weapon such as a knife. In the UK it is illegal to carry a knife in public without good reason unless it’s a knife with a folding blade 3 inches long (7.62 cm) or less, for example, a Swiss Army knife.  The following information was from obtained from the UK.Gov website UK.GOV – UK Police Powers To Stop And Search.

UK Police Stop Search Powers: Your Rights

The police are allowed to stop and question you at any time. Depending on the Situation they can also search you.
If you are stopped by a police community support officer, they must be in uniform when they stop and question you.
A regular police officer does have to be in uniform to stop and question you. However, if they are not in police uniform they are required by law to show you their warrant card.

You don’t have to stop or answer any questions. If you don’t and there’s no other reason to suspect you, your refusal to answer questions alone cannot be used as a reason to search or arrest you.

What Grounds Do The Police Have Under Stop Search Powers?

Being searched does not mean you are being arrested. A police officer has the power to stop and search you if they have “reasonable grounds” to suspect you’re carrying any of the following:

  • Illegal drugs
  • A weapon
  • Stolen property
  • Something which could be used to commit a crime, for example, a crowbar

You can only be stopped and searched without reasonable grounds if it has been approved by a senior police officer. This can happen if it is suspected that:

  • Serious violence could take place
  • You are carrying a weapon or have used one
  • You are in a specific location or area

UK Police Stop Search Powers: Before The Search

Before a search can take place the police officer must tell you the following:

  • Their name and police station
  • What they expect to find, for example, drugs
  • The reason they want to search you, for example, if it looks like you’re hiding something
  • Why they are legally allowed to search you
  • That you can have a record of the search and if this isn’t possible at the time, how you can get a copy

What Do Police Ask When They Stop And Question You?

A police officer may stop you and ask you the following questions:

  • What is your name?
  • What are you doing in the area?
  • Where are you going?

A police officer can ask you to take off your coat, jacket or gloves. They may ask you to take off other clothes and anything you are wearing for religious reasons, for example, a veil or turban. If they do ask you to do this, they must take you somewhere that is out of public view. If a police officer wants you to remove more than a jacket and gloves they must be the same-sex as you.

UK Police Stop Search Powers Summary

Knowing your rights when you’re out and about in the UK is an import part of protecting yourself. Whilst you don’t want to hinder the police from carrying out their lawful duties. Being prepared with the information above will help ensure you are treated correctly.

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The information contained in the article above was last checked in October 2017 using information from the UK.Gov website UK.GOV – UK Police Powers To Stop And Search


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