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Stop and Search

The police can stop and search people to detect crime and help make our neighbourhoods safe. Searches are only carried out where there are reasonable grounds to do so.

What are my rights?

To learn more about your rights and police powers, visit the Police powers to stop and search: your rights page on GOV.UK.

What happens during a stop and search?
  • Where possible the search will be done out of public view in order to minimise any potential embarrassment from the search.
  • Officers may ask to see the contents of your pockets as well as other items you may be carrying, such as a bag.
  • The officers can also search your vehicle, even if you are not present, but they must leave a notice to say what they have done.
  • If you are carrying something illegal, such as a weapon, or the police believe you have committed a crime, you may be arrested.
  • If they do not find anything, a record of the search will be made and you will be offered a receipt (PDF).
What information will I need to provide?

You do not have to give your name, address or date of birth to the police if you are stopped and searched, unless you are being reported for an offence.

You may be asked to describe your ethnic origin. You do not have to give this information, but we ask the question so we can monitor the stopping of ethnic minorities and encourage police accountability.

What if I want to complain?

If you believe you were stopped and searched unreasonably, or you were not treated fairly or with respect, you can complain to:

What is the Community Trigger process?

The Community Trigger ensures we work together to try to resolve complaints or concerns.

If you have a concern about the way the police are using stop and search within your community, you can report a concern about the way the police are using stop and search within your area.

It does not replace the complaints procedure, or your opportunity to complain to your local police station or Independent Police Commission.

The Independent Scrutiny Panel and the Force Stop and Search lead will decide whether single complaints will activate the Community Trigger process.

If the local policing area receives more than one complaint over a 3 month period, the Community Trigger process will be activated.

All stop and search related complaints and their outcomes, will be published on this page anonymously.

For a chance to increase your understanding of the process and to discuss with officers, any person who makes a stop and search related complaint will be considered to take part in the Ride Along Scheme.

How many Stop and Searches are performed in Avon and Somerset?

To view statistics for stop and search in Avon and Somerset, visit our stop and search statistics page or police.uk.

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